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What Happens To The Body in Carbon Monoxide Poisoning & How to Treat It?

What is Meant by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious condition, which occurs when an individual inhales excessive amounts of carbon monoxide gas. Carbon Monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas, which is produced when burning gasoline, charcoal or wood(1). Gasoline is used in cars and generators; while charcoal is sometimes used to cook grilled items(1).

What Happens To The Body in Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

What Happens To The Body in Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

When an individual inhales excess of carbon monoxide, the body replaces oxygen with this toxic gas. It results in the organs of the body not receiving oxygen required for normal functioning causing irreparable damage to the vital structures like brain and heart(1). Severe cases of carbon monoxide poisoning mostly are fatal, unless immediate treatment is given.

What are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

The primary presenting features of carbon monoxide poisoning are change of mental alertness, difficulty breathing, memory issues, problems with vision and loss of consciousness(1). An individual after exposure to carbon monoxide gas requires prompt treatment to prevent any untoward incidents.

In Which Individuals Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Absolutely Fatal?

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is extremely deadly in people who are either asleep or are intoxicated. Thus, it is imperative to have a carbon monoxide detector in the house, which will check the levels of this gas periodically and an alarm will go off if the levels become dangerous. Since treatment of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is extremely crucial, this article gives an overview of just that.

How to Treat Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

As soon as an individual is believed to have had excessive exposure to carbon monoxide gas, it is best to take the patient immediately out of the area into fresh air. Emergency help from 911 should next be sought, especially if the individual is unconscious, has severe dizziness or has severe difficulty in breathing.

Pure Oxygen for Treating Carbon Monoxide Poisoning(1): Once in the hospital, the treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning begins with giving the patient pure oxygen through a mask so the oxygen can reach the vital organs of the body. The patient may also be put on a ventilator if she or she is not able to breathe voluntarily.

Treat Carbon Monoxide Poisoning with Hyperbaric Oxygen(1): Hyperbaric oxygen is the next step towards treatment of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. This is usually reserved for individuals who have had severe exposure to the Carbon Monoxide gas and is not conscious(1). The oxygen in this therapy is given under high pressure, such that the replacement of carbon monoxide to oxygen is done at a much faster rate than normal.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also protects the tissues of the heart and brain which is the organs most affected during carbon monoxide poisoning. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for treating carbon monoxide poisoning is also preferred for pregnant females, as carbon monoxide poisoning tends to be that much more threatening to the fetus(1).


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:July 9, 2019

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