Carbon monoxide is the most poisonous gas likely to be present in domestic surroundings. For example, when an automobile engine has been left running in an enclosed space, such as a garage, carbon monoxide can accumulate to toxic levels.

Effects of carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide, and mixtures that contain it, prevent the blood from carrying oxygen to tissues. Carbon monoxide is easily absorbed through the lungs and inhaling even relatively small amounts, can lead to hypoxic injury, neurological damage, and even death.
Carbon monoxide exposure may lead to a significantly shorter life span due to heart damage.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Different people and different populations have different tolerance levels of Carbon Monoxide, but the symptoms are similar:
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Tachycardia
High levels of Carbon Monoxide inhalation will cause loss of consciousness even after 2–3 breaths, and death in less than three minutes.

Unless suspected, poisoning with Carbon Monoxide is very difficult to detect, because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from Carbon Monoxide poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Treatment

Initial treatment for persons with carbon monoxide poisoning is to immediately remove them from the exposure and Call 911.
If the person is unconscious, check for injuries before moving, then CPR is required on site.
If the person is not breathing normally:
Perform CPR for one minute before calling 911 if you are alone. Otherwise, have someone else call and begin CPR.
Please have in mind that the CPR procedure is different for children.
Continue CPR until the person begins breathing or emergency help arrives.

Once at the hospital, treatment depends on the severity of the carbon monoxide exposure.