What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is an extremely serious situation that develops when an individual inhales excessive carbon dioxide resulting in an accumulation of this gas in the bloodstream. The amount of carbon monoxide reaches to such a level in the blood that the body replaces oxygen with carbon monoxide and thus the vital organs of the body are not able to get enough oxygen to function normally(1). This leads to malfunctioning of organs which if not treated on time can prove fatal for the individual(1).

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What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas, which is emitted out from burning fuels like petrol or diesel, wood or coal(1). Vehicle exhaust emission is another common source of carbon monoxide poisoning(2). In households, where there is no proper ventilation system, any of these sources can produce carbon monoxide to such a level that is considered unsafe for inhalation.

What are the Sources of Carbon Monoxide?

Cooking on charcoal grill, which is quite popular, is one big source for carbon monoxide and when done indoors can cause significant increase in the levels of carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous(1). Fire is yet another source for carbon monoxide poisoning.In case if there is a fire in the house, then the chances of the individual inhaling plenty of carbon monoxide is extremely high and can even lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Since this condition requires prompt and immediate treatment, it is vital to know whether an individual has had carbon monoxide poisoning. This article gives an overview on what to look out for to know when an individual has had carbon monoxide poisoning.

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How To Know That You Have Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

How To Know That You Have Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

The primary presenting features of carbon monoxide poisoning include: Persistent dull headaches which do not resolve with routine medications. The individual will also experience dizziness or lightheadedness along with nausea or vomiting(1). As the condition of carbon monoxide worsens, the individual will have difficulty breathing and the vision starts getting distorted or blurred(1).

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The mental awareness of the individual suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning gets compromised and he or she is not able to focus or concentrate. Ultimately, the patient suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning loses consciousness(1). At this stage, if the patient is not treated, then he or she may slip into coma and may even succumb to the condition(1).

What To Do To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon Monoxide is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal in people who are either intoxicated or are sleeping when they inhale carbon monoxide gas, as this causes permanent damage to the brain cells and before anyone can even sense that something is wrong, they succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Thus it is extremely vital to have a know how on how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. This can be done by following the below mentioned guidelines:

Ensure that the heating and ventilating system in the house or place of work, water heaters, oil or coal burning appliance gets serviced every year to limit the accumulation of carbon monoxide.

Ensure that all the ventilators are free from any debris or dust so that the ventilation lines do not get blocked and all the carbon monoxide fumes move out of the breathing area.

Never keep the engine of a motor vehicle running, especially a car, in an enclosed space like a garage more so when there are people in the car or around the garage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ensure that no generators, motor vehicles or a pressure washer are placed near an open window so that carbon monoxide gas may not seep into the room.

Avoid cooking on charcoal grill inside the house to prevent carbon monoxide gas from accumulating.

Even if there is minimal suspicion of carbon monoxide gas poisoning in an individual, then it is extremely crucial to inform the emergency team through 911 to prevent any permanent damage and more importantly the life of the individual.

References:  

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: July 1, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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