Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Causes ,Prevention & Treatment


When carbon monoxide levels rise in the blood, carbon monoxide poisoning happens. The body switches the oxygen in the red blood cells for carbon monoxide when there is too much carbon monoxide in the air. Serious tissue damage or even death may result from this.

Gases like carbon monoxide have no flavour, aroma, or colour. Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels, such as gas, wood, propane, or charcoal, are burned. Gas may build up to deadly amounts in appliances and engines with poor ventilation. The accumulation is exacerbated in a small area.

Anyone who has been exposed to carbon monoxide ought to get outside as soon as possible and get medical attention. If you see someone who is unconscious or in a coma, call emergency medical services (EMS).


Carbon monoxide is produced by several fuel-burning devices and machines. In places with excellent airflow, the amount of carbon monoxide from these sources is often not a reason for concern. However, the carbon monoxide level might be dangerous if they are utilised in a completely closed location. Examples include starting a car inside a garage or utilising a charcoal barbecue indoors.

Oxygen in the blood is replaced by carbon monoxide when one breathes in the gases. This limits the ability of oxygen to reach tissues and organs.

Smoke inhalation during a fire can potentially poison one with carbon monoxide. More young people are developing carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of smoking using a water pipe known as a hookah.

How to check if you have Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

If you think you could be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, go outside and get some fresh air.

Risk Factors

For the following people, breathing carbon monoxide can be very risky:

Unborn children. Compared to adult blood cells, foetal blood cells more readily absorb carbon monoxide.

Children and babies. Children breathe more often than adults do.

Older people. Brain damage from carbon monoxide poisoning may be more likely to occur in older persons.


The brain and heart are the two organs most impacted by carbon monoxide overdose. With repeated exposure, it is possible to develop flu-like symptoms without a temperature. Clearer signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include the following:

  • Headache.
  • Weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Vomiting or nauseous.
  • Respiration difficulty.
  • Confusion.
  • Eyesight that is hazy.
  • Drowsiness.
  • A decline in muscular control.
  • Awareness loss.

After recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning, symptoms affecting the neurological system and brain may appear. Adults who have lost consciousness due to carbon monoxide and elderly adults are at increased risk for these. Some signs might be:

  • Loss of memory.
  • Individuality varies.
  • Having trouble moving.

For those who are intoxicated, high on drugs, or sleeping, carbon monoxide poisoning can be very lethal. Before anybody realizes it, carbon monoxide can result in death or brain damage.


As a means of reducing carbon monoxide toxicity, try using the following techniques:

Install carbon monoxide detectors around the house. On every floor of the home, position them close to every sleeping space. At least twice a year, check the batteries at the same time as the smoke detector batteries.

If the alarm goes off, trust it! Call the fire department before you leave the house. Boats and motorhomes may also use carbon monoxide detectors.

Before you start the automobile, open the garage door. In particular, if the garage is linked to the home, never leave a car running in the garage. Even if the garage door is open, that is still true.

Only use gas appliances as directed. Never heat anything using a gas stove or oven. Only use gas camp stoves outside.

Only use fuel-burning space heaters if someone is home to monitor them and there are open doors or windows. Running a generator in a basement or garage is not recommended.

Make sure there is room around engines and equipment that consume gasoline. All gas appliances, portable heaters and wood-burning stoves fall under this category. Ensure that they are adequately ventilated.

All appliances that burn gas, oil or coal should be installed by specialists. Have a professional service company maintain them once a year.

Maintain fireplaces in proper working order. Every year, clean the flue and chimney of the fireplace.

When remodelling, keep chimneys and vents clear. Verify that they are not obscured by tarps or other objects.

Before going back to the scene of the poisoning, make repairs. Find and treat any carbon monoxide poisoning that has happened in the house.

Before staying there once more, fix the carbon monoxide source. Any appliances that might have triggered the leak should be checked and repaired by a certified service technician.


Take a quick breath of fresh air. If you or a companion is experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, seek emergency medical attention. These include disorientation, weakness, shortness of breath, nausea, headache, and vertigo.

Treatment at the hospital could include:

Consuming just oxygen. Standard medical care in the emergency department includes using a mask over the mouth and nose to breathe pure oxygen. As a result, tissues and organs receive more oxygen. People who are unable to breathe on their own may be placed on a ventilator, a machine that performs their breathing.

Receiving care in a chamber with oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is what this is. It entails inhaling just pure oxygen for a predetermined period of time in a chamber. The chamber's air pressure is 2 to three times the typical level. This aids in the blood's process of converting carbon monoxide to oxygen.

Severe carbon monoxide poisoning could benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It aids in preventing carbon monoxide damage to heart and brain cells. Pregnant women may potentially benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy to safeguard their unborn children from the harm caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Complications of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The amount of carbon monoxide breathed in and for how long can cause damage. As a result of carbon monoxide poisoning the following conditions can happen:

  • Brain injury that does not recover.
  • Cardiac damage might develop into potentially fatal cardiac issues.
  • Death.


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Page last reviewed: May 25, 2023

Next review due: May 25, 2025

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