Description of Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that is highly dangerous when inhaled, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Persons most commonly affected by Carbon monoxide poisoning - all age groups and both sexes.
Organ or part of body involved in Carbon monoxide poisoning - blood, all tissues and brain.
Symptoms and indications of Carbon monoxide poisoning
The symptoms of poisoning include giddiness, flushing of the skin (due to carboxy hemoglobin in the blood, which is bright red), nausea, and headache, raised respiratory and pulse rate and eventual collapse, coma, respiratory failure and death. Carbon monoxide poisoning is an emergency and the person requires immediate medical help.
Treatment of Carbon monoxide poisoning
The most important treatment is to immediately remove the person into fresh air and start artificial respiration if needed. Other emergency medical treatment may be needed in the form of giving of oxygen and assisted ventilation.
Causes and risk factors of Carbon monoxide poisoning
In the blood, carbon monoxide has a much greater affinity for oxygen (300 times higher) than hemoglobin and converts hemoglobin into carboxy hemoglobin. (Hemoglobin is the red pigment present in the blood that picks up oxygen in the lungs and carries it in the circulation to all the tissues and organs of the body.)
The tissues and organs of the body are quickly deprived of oxygen because there is no free hemoglobin left to pick it up in the lungs.
Permanent damage is eventually caused to the ganglia at the base of the brain. Carbon monoxide is present in coal gas fumes and the emissions of vehicle exhausts.
Domestic cases of accidental poisoning usually occur due to inadequate ventilation and ineffective maintenance of boilers and heating systems.