The most common symptoms of inhaling bleach fumes include coughing and irritation of the eyes, throat and nose. People with sensitivities to the chemicals in chlorine bleach may experience more intense symptoms after exposure.
Most people can use diluted, household-strength bleach without experiencing side effects, but prolonged exposure to bleach fumes can cause symptoms to occur. Those with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, may be more susceptible to experiencing negative side effects from inhaling bleach fumes. Long-term exposure can also increase sensitivities to chlorine-bleach fumes, and can cause respiratory issues, such as irritation of the airways and an increase in the symptoms of asthma.
Inhalation of bleach fumes can cause burns in the bronchial tubes and lungs if the bleach is undiluted or inhaled for long periods of time. Dilution with water is recommended for most household uses. Diluting cleaners properly can prevent many common side effects of inhaling bleach fumes.
Symptoms of bleach inhalation can also be prevented by using the cleaner in a ventilated area and using only the recommended amount of the cleaner. When bleach is mixed with other cleaners, particularly ammonia, the fumes can become toxic, even when the cleaners are diluted with water. To prevent toxic fumes, never mix bleach with other cleaning products, and keep all cleaners out of the reach of children. If bleach poisoning is suspected, move the person to fresh air immediately.