Mayo Clinic

“Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This prevents oxygen from reaching your tissues and organs. can lead to serious tissue damage, or even death.”
Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be especially dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated. People may have irreversible brain damage or even be killed before anyone realizes there’s a problem.
If you or someone you’re with develops signs or symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning — get into fresh air immediately and call 9-1-1 for emergency medical help. A blood test will confirm the presence of carbon monoxide.

Treatment may include breathing pure oxygen or spending time in a pressurized oxygen chamber. In it the air pressure is about two to three times higher than normal, which speeds the replacement of carbon monoxide with oxygen in your blood. This treatment helps protect heart and brain tissue, which are particularly vulnerable to injury from carbon monoxide poisoning.

December 2015

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