Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. Carbon monoxide (CO) gas is produced by the incomplete burning of fuel. In the UK, more than 50 people die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning every year, and 200 people are seriously injured. CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and gas ranges and heating systems. When carbon monoxide is breathed in, it gets into the blood stream where it mixes with the haemoglobin. Carboxyhaemoglobin affects blood vessels in the body, causing them to become ‘leaky’. This can lead to swelling in the brain, causing unconsciousness and neurological (nerve) damage.
CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned by breathing it. Carbon monoxide is produced by common household appliances. Carbon monoxide is life-threatening to humans. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common type of fatal poisoning in France and the United States. It has been estimated that more than 40,000 people per year in the United States. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death. Certain groups unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems are more risk for CO poisoning.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is diagnosed by measuring the level of carbon monoxide in the blood. The treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning is high–dose oxygen, usually using a facemask attached to an oxygen reserve bag. There are many prevents of carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t use kerosene or propane heaters in an enclosed area such as a recreational vehicle, camper, motor home, trailer, or tent. Don’t smoke cigarettes or be near someone who is smoking in a poorly ventilated room. Don’t use paint remover that contains methylene chloride. Don’t burn charcoal or use a grill indoors or in a recreational vehicle, camper, motor home, trailer, or tent. Don’t place power generators or pressure washers near windows or doors of your home.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Treatment and Prevention Tips
1. Don’t smoke cigarettes.
2. Don’t burn charcoal or use a grill indoors.
3. Don’t use kerosene or propane heaters in an enclosed area.
4. Don’t use paint remover that contains methylene chloride.
5. Don’t place power generators or pressure washers near windows.
6. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also recommended.