What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

  • Posted by Chris Ritchie
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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, carbon monoxide is a gas that is hard to detect and that can kill an individual in a very short period of time. Each year hundreds of individuals die after unknowingly inhaling carbon monoxide. Being aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and preventing carbon monoxide leaks has the potential to save lives.

Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

According to the Center for Disease Control carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when an individual breathes in combustion fumes. Car exhaust, gas stoves, gas heaters, and a variety of other combustion based household appliances emit carbon monoxide. Normally this is not a problem, but if too much carbon monoxide accumulates in an area that is not well ventilated the results can be tragic.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The NY Times reports carbon monoxide causes the body to be oxygen starved because it takes the place of oxygen in the blood. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are; trouble breathing, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, seizures, fainting, headaches, nausea and vomiting, coma, and death.

Treatment for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning can only take place if the victim is given medical attention early enough. A victim should first be moved out of the toxic environment. Once medical help arrives the victim will be taken to the hospital for treatment. Because of the illusive nature of carbon monoxide many victims of carbon monoxide poisoning die before help is ever received.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable if individuals take precautionary measures. The Center for Disease Control makes the following recommendations in order to prevent tragedy associated with carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Have gas furnaces and water heaters checked by a professional at least once a year
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of a home
  • Do not use fuel burning appliances, grills, generators etc... near any window of a home and never use such items within an enclosed area
  • Do not leave a car running in a garage connected to a house, regardless of whether the door or garage windows are open
  • Do not leave a gas oven door open with the intent of heating a house
  • Do not burn any items in a fireplace or stove without a vent
  • Get out of the house immediately if a carbon monoxide detector starts beeping and call 911 so that authorities can check the health of individuals in the house as well as the house itself.

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