Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning occurs due to accumulation of carbon monoxide in the blood stream. The oxygen in the body cells is replaced by the carbon monoxide gas inCarbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO poisoning. Death can result or serious damage to the tissue might occur because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is tasteless, odorless and colorless gas that is produced by, wood burning gas fuels, charcoal and propane. Carbon monoxide can accumulate to levels that are dangerous due to enclosed or tightly sealed places with engine appliances or improper ventilation.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

What are the Sources of Carbon Monoxide Gas?

  • Water heaters which are based on gas
  • Charcoal grills and kerosene space heaters
  • Diesel and gasoline powered generators
  • Propane based heaters and stoves
  • Forklifts fueled by propane
  • Smoke from cigarette
  • Indoor tractor pulls
  • Spray paint, paint removers, solvents and degreasers.

Emergency is recommended to anyone who may think he/she is having carbon monoxide poisoning. getting out in the fresh air will help immediately.

What Causes Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning?

Inhalation of combustion will result in carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning. Oxygen in the blood cells will be replaced by the carbon monoxide that might be in the air that you are inhaling. Oxygen is thus preventing from reaching the target organs and tissues.

Engines that are fuel burning and other products are the main carbon monoxide producers. The course of concern is not normally the amount of CO produced. The buildup of CO can reach hazardous levels if the area that you are in is partially or totally closed. Even charcoal drill can bring such misfortunes.

Carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning can also occur when you inhale smoke during a fire.

What are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning?

Carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning has the following signs and symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting with nausea
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling weak
  • Confusion
  • You lose consciousness.

Intoxicated or sleeping people are more vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning. People can die as a result of this or have damage to the brain that is irreversible.

When to Visit a Doctor for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning?

Subtle warning signs can rise due to carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning. This is a medical emergency that is life threatening. Seek medical attention if you think someone you are next to are you has had carbon monoxide poisoning.

Prepare for an Appointment

Call 911 if you are someone with you has had dizziness, nausea, short breath, confusion weakness or headache. First step is to get fresh air.

Critical information will be needed from you by the doctors when you arrive. Prepare yourself to answer questions such as:

  • The sources that might have been possible for carbon monoxide.
  • What are the signs and the symptoms and the instance that they started.
  • Memory problems or confusion which occur due to mental impairments
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • If the person have been diagnosed prior to this even pregnancy.
  • Habits of smoking.

What are the Risk Factors for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning?

It will be particularly dangerous if the carbon monoxide exposure entails:

  • Unborn Babies: Carbon monoxide is taken in more readily by the fetal cells than in the adult cell. Unborn babies are more susceptible in this consideration.
  • Children: Due to the fact that children breathe more rapidly than adults, their vulnerability to carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoningis higher.
  • Older Adults: Brain damage is more likely to occasion in adults who are much older.

Complications for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning

The following can result from exposure of carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning. The duration is the determiner and can be:

  • Permanent damage to the brain
  • Cardiac complications can result due to the damage that can occur in the heart.
  • Death.

What Tests are Conducted to Diagnose Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning?

Treatment can start immediately if you are in an emergency room suspecting carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning. Carbon monoxide can be tested by taking a sample of your blood to be tested.

How do You Treat Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning?

Getting the fresh air is the first step to do and call 911 for your medical emergency when you develop the symptoms like dizziness, headache, nausea, confusion, weakness and shortness of breath.

The treatment that may be recommended for carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning can be:

Pure Oxygen Intake for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning

Pure oxygen intake for can help in reducing the impact of carbon monoxide poisoning or co poisoning. A mask will be placed on your nose and mouth which allows you to breathe pure oxygen when you are in an emergency room. Your tissues and organs can get oxygen in this consideration. A ventilator can be used to aid your breathing of you cannot breath.

Staying in a Chamber with Pressurized Oxygen for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is preferred in most cases for carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning. This process entails staying inside an oxygen chamber that pressurizes more than normal twice or trice. The replacement of the carbon monoxide in the blood cells is replaced by oxygen hurriedly.

In severe cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be used. The brain and heart tissues that are more susceptible to injury by CO are protected by the replacement of oxygen. Unborn babies are more vulnerable also and thus hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be used when pregnant women are exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning?

Precautions that are simple can reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning:

  • Open the door of your garage prior to starting the car. Have an attached garage and never leave your car running inside the garage. It is never safe to leave your car running adjacent to your home even if the garage door is not closed.
  • Use the right procedure when it comes to gas appliances. Never heat your home with a gas stove. Portable gas stoves should be used outside only. Ensure that the windows are open when you are using a fuel- burning space and ensure that there is someone to monitor it. Generators must not be running in basements or garage
  • Properly ventilate your fuel- burning and engines. These are:
    • Space heaters
    • Charcoal grills
    • Furnaces
    • Cooking rangers
    • Portable generators
    • Fireplaces
    • Truck and car engines
    • Wood-burning stoves.
  • You should be able to ask your utility company annually for gas appliances checkups, up to the furnace.
  • Regularly repair your fireplace. Your flue and chimney should be cleaned annually.
  • When you are remodeling ensure that the chimneys are unblocked. Ensure that debris or tarps do not cover it.
  • Repair a site with an incident before returning back. Before staying in home that has had carbon monoxide poisoning, it is wise to repair where the source came from. You can get help from your local utility company or the fire department.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors to Eliminate Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning

  • You should consider putting detectors of carbon monoxide nears the area that you sleep. You should be able to find one that has been approved by Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
  • Follow closely the direction laid down when installing a detector. Know the step you will take when the alarm goes off.
  • You should know that the CO detector is safety measures that backs up the main precaution. The need to be regularly checking your appliances does not diminish.

Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning

  • Check your truck's or car's exhaust system annually. CO build up can occur in your car due to a small leak.
  • Even if the garage door is open and the garage is attached to the house, never run your car or trucks inside. If you have a garage that ids detached, you should ensure that the entire door is open after you run your truck or car inside.
  • Open the window or vents of your SUV or any car with tailgate to ensure movement of air. The CO will get into the car or SUV if the tailgate is open.

What is the Effect and Prognosis for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning?

Death can result due to carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning. It is very slow to recover when one survives. The length of time that a person is exposed to carbon monoxide and the amount will determine how well the individual will be. Brain damage that is permanent may also occur.

If mental impairment persists for more than two weeks there will be less chances of full recovery. In those who have been free of symptoms mental impairment can reappear in the first 1-2 weeks.

The Long Term Effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning or CO Poisoning

Neurological problems that are long term can occur because carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoningcauses anoxic brain damage which will take long and is severe. Mood, behavior, memory, cognition and language will be adversely affected. The damage to the basal ganglia will bring about walking difficulties such as those of the Parkinson's disease because carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoningwill affect it greatly.

A characteristic that is unusual of the carbon monoxide poisoning or CO poisoning is the lag or postponed neurological condition deterioration. This will appear from few days to 5-6 weeks of exposure after being exposed. It is unclear as the reason of this event but it seems that the white matter is greatly affected. Demyelination have been suggested to occur as a result. This is a condition whereby the insulating myelin sheath that is fatty at the nerve axons will be impaired and thus it will unable to conduct nerve impulses electronically.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: October 9, 2015

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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