What is carbon monoxide and its toxic properties?

Carbon monoxide is a non-irritant,colorless and an odorless gas and because of these properties it is very difficult to detect.It is the most toxic gas which binds with the red blood cells much faster than the oxygen.Therefore,it spreads very faster and spreads the toxins to the whole body.It is known as the silent killer as it causes slow brain damage and death.Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of deaths in America.The only way to replace Carbon monoxide in the body is to make the victim inhale huge concentrations of oxygen to reverse the effects of poisoning.

Sources of Carbon monoxide:

Leakage can happen from any of the following items:

  • Wood stoves.
  • Gas clothes dryers.
  • Gas water heaters.
  • Smudge pots.
  • Motorcycles.
  • Gas or diesel cars,trucks and generators.
  • Gas or charcoal barbecues.
  • Fireplaces or Fire pits.
  • Gas stoves.
  • Gas powered lawn equipment.
  • Motorboats.
  • Fuel-burning heating appliances and systems.
  • Inadequate ventilation in living areas.
  • Blocked chimneys.

What happens in carbon monoxide poisoning:

In carbon monoxide poisoning,it binds and mixes in the blood with hemoglobin to form carboxyhemoglobin (COhb). When this occurs,less oxygen is supplied to the entire body and vital organs like brain and heart.

Factors that determine the affects of carbon monoxide poisoning are:

  • The inhaled amount of carbon monoxide.
  • The length of time exposed to carbon monoxide.
  • Amount of ventilation in that area.
  • Age also plays a major factor. Infants,children and older adults are affected.
  • People with other illness are easily affected.
  • Smokers are at higher risk as they have CO in there blood.
  • Altitude also plays a vital role .

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are the following. The symptoms vary from each victim differently.The symptoms include:

  • Headache.
  • Loss of hearing.
  • Nausea and Vomiting.
  • Weakness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Rapid and irregular heart rate.
  • Disorientation.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Loss of hearing.
  • Seizures.
  • Chest pain.
  • Respiratory failure.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Respiratory failure.
  • Cardiac arrest.
  • In severe cases,death.

First aid for carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Firstly,stay calm and act quickly.
  • Immediately,leave the area and get fresh air.
  • Turn off the source of carbon monoxide if it can be done safely.
  • Call your local emergency medical services.
  • If severely affected, administer oxygen with a tight mask once the ambulance arrives.
  • Watch for the symptoms and give symptomatic treatment.
  • If the victim is unconscious, check for the ABC’s of life and get him to an open area for fresh air.
  • Call for medical help immediately.
  • Hospitalization is necessary.
  • Usually the victim is placed in a compressed,pressurized chamber with oxygen.
  • This helps in replacing the carboxyhemoglobin with oxygen.
  • This proceeder is called hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Prevention is better than Cure:

  • Firstly, it is recommended to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning becoming a problem.
  • A general awareness regarding CO poisoning should be created among family,friends and work colleagues.
  • Get the appliances checked regularly to ensure safety.
  • Adequate ventilation should be ensured for all fuel burning equipments.
  • Monitoring devices can be installed to check the CO poisoning.
  • The early symptoms should be detected and seek medical advise promptly
  • .