Carbon monoxide poisoning

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Carbon monoxide is the gas that is both colorless and odorless. It is generated from anything that produces combustion fumes. All of us are exposed to minimal amount of carbon monoxide during the day. If excessive amounts are inhaled, it results to carbon monoxide poisoning. There are several devices that produce these fumes:

  • Fireplaces
  • Heaters
  • Charcoal grills
  • Space heaters
  • Portable generators
  • Vehicle engines

Always bear in mind that any exposure can be considered dangerous if it results to an inability to breathe properly. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result to tissue damage and even death in severe cases. This type of poisoning is very serious. In case you are someone else might be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to seek emergency care right away.

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Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

carbon monoxide poisoning

Chest pain is experienced by an individual exposed to carbon monoxide

  • Weakness
  • Dull headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness

Individuals who inhaled a substantial amount of carbon monoxide will urge the body to replace the oxygen in the blood with carbon monoxide. Once this occurs, the individual might become unconscious. Understandably, death can occur in such cases. For those who have been exposed extensively to a source of carbon monoxide, it is important to seek medical attention right away even if there are no signs of poisoning.

Sources of carbon monoxide

Always bear in mind that carbon monoxide poisoning ensues once there is an excessive level of carbon monoxide existing in the air. The real poisoning occurs once an individual inhales this air, particularly in locations that are not properly ventilated. The risk for inhaling air that contains carbon monoxide increases if the following are close by:

  • Water heater
  • Fuel-burning space heater
  • Fireplace
  • Gas stove
  • Furnace
  • Running vehicle in a garage or closed space

Generally, these sources can increase the level of carbon monoxide if they are used in closed space. It is important to install a carbon monoxide detector close to these devices if they are stored in your house. Additionally, do not leave a vehicle running inside a closed garage.

How carbon monoxide poisoning is diagnosed

Once the individual is taken to the hospital, a healthcare professional will take a blood sample in order to test the level of carbon monoxide present in the blood. The carbon monoxide levels higher than 70 ppm in the blood can produce the symptoms while levels above 150-200 can result to dizziness, unconsciousness and even death in some cases.

How carbon monoxide poisoning is treated

Timely delivery of the appropriate intervention is vital to prevent the life-threatening complications. There are breathing treatments provided in order to handle the poisoning.

  • Oxygen treatment – breathing in pure oxygen will increase the oxygen levels in the blood.
  • Oxygen chamber – in some cases, individuals are temporarily placed in a pressurized oxygen chamber. It helps increase the blood oxygen levels quickly.
  • Emergency care – if you suspect an individual is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately provide fresh air and get in touch with emergency assistance right away. Always state the source of the carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is life-threatening, thus if you suspect an individual is exposed, it is important to call for emergency assistance right away.

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