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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

What is Meant by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is an extremely serious medical condition, which results when an individual inhales excessive amount of carbon monoxide gas (1). Carbon Monoxide is a tasteless and odorless gas, which is emitted from combustion of fuels, wood, or gasoline(2). Cooking on charcoal grill also produces excessive amount of carbon monoxide gas.

When an individual inhales excessive carbon monoxide gas, the body replaces oxygen with this gas and the vital organs of the body are not able to get sufficient amounts of oxygen required for normal functioning. This ultimately results in multiple organ failure, which in majority of cases is fatal(2).

The Importance of Getting Prompt Treatment In Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It is essential that an individual with carbon monoxide poisoning gets immediate treatment to prevent any untoward and serious complications. Persistent dull headaches, mental confusion, dizziness, and loss of consciousness are some of the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning(3). If an individual experiences these symptoms after being exposed to the carbon monoxide gas, then it is crucial to call 911 immediately for diagnosis and treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning(3). Once treatment is started, the patient will be anxious to know the time required to get back to normal activities.

This article gives a brief overview of how long it takes to recover from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

The time it will take to completely recover from carbon monoxide poisoning totally depends on the amount of the carbon monoxide gas that has been inhaled by the patient. There is no easy way to tell how long carbon monoxide poisoning will last.

  • Recovery Time for Mild Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. If there is just mild inhalation of the carbon monoxide gas, then all the symptoms may resolve within a week of inhalation(5).
  • Recovery Time for Moderate Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. If there is moderate inhalation of carbon monoxide, then it may take anywhere from three to four weeks for complete recovery.
  • Recovery Time for Severe Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. In severe cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, it may take from six months to a year for an individual to completely recover.

Treatment for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The primary treatment given for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning includes: Removing the source from which the patient got affected to begin with. The patient is then put on 100% oxygen through mask along with supportive measures and close monitoring of the functioning of all the organs, especially the brain(4).

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is reserved for those individuals who have had severe inhalation of the carbon monoxide gas(4). This treatment involves putting the patient on pure oxygen at high pressures. It should be noted here that this technique may not be available at all the clinics.

Thus, if an individual is suspected to have severe carbon monoxide poisoning then it is preferred to take the patient to a specialized hospital so that hyperbaric oxygen can be given to prevent any dangerous complications of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, this therapy has its own inherent complications, which need to be carefully evaluated before starting it.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 28, 2019

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