An excellent video describing the cascading cause and effect of the short term exposure to the BP Gulf Oil Spill. He describes how at first docs will see burning eyes, rashes, coughs and sore throats. Then this may exasperate into a chronic cough with exposure to heat, cold air, or rain. Then there may come asthma, and pneumonitis that may not present as wheezing but as shortness of breath, chest tightening, and/or horking cough. Mostly, the patient needs to be removed from the exposure and then given topical and/or systemic steroids. This can become chronic pneumonia if the chemicals have gotten deep into the lung tissue.
Docs may see the presentation of memory loss, confusion, and bad dreams. There may be neuropsychological effects such as emotional instability. These people need to be referred for neuropsychological evaluation.
Additionally we may see neuropathy which is a degeneration of the peripheral nerve with myelin sheath disintegration which is not seen until 1/3 of the nerve is killed off.
Curbside Consult, Gulf Oil Spill Health Hazards, Dr. Michael Harbut, Professor of Medicine, Wayne State University