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Injury Definitions

Reactive Airway Dysfunction Syndrome

Reactive airway dysfunction syndrome, also known as RADS, is a condition that causes asthma-like symptoms in a previously healthy asymptomatic person after a single exposure to concentrated respiratory irritants. The irritants that can cause RADS include smoke, dust, chemical vapors and gases.

Symptoms can include shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, wheezing and coughing. Symptoms should appear within 24 to 78 hours after exposure and they can persist for days, weeks, months, or years. The symptoms may become exacerbated when a person is exposed to environmental stimuli, including cigarette smoke, cold air, traffic fumes and common household chemicals.

Treatment modalities include anti-inflammatories to reduce inflammation, thereby reducing spontaneous spasm of the airway and inhaled bronchodilators that increase the diameter of the air passages. The anti-inflammatory medication include oral corticosteroids, inhaled corticosteroids and liquid corticosteroids.

 For related information go to: Respiratory Injuries; Toxic Exposure.

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