Carbon monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a gas that is produced by burning material containing carbon. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause brain damage and death. You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it; but carbon monoxide can kill you.
Carbon monoxide is produced by common household appliances. When not properly ventilated, carbon monoxide emitted by these appliances can build up.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Causes
Carbon monoxide is formed when organic compounds burn. The most common sources are motor vehicle exhaust and smoke from fires.
In countries like Ethiopia charcoal grills are used very widely in the households and contribute for much of carbon mono oxide poisoning.
Other sources of carbon monoxide:
- Gas water heaters
- Kerosene space heaters
- Propane heaters and stoves
- Gasoline and diesel powered generators
- Cigarette smoke
- Propane-fueled forklifts
- Gasoline powered concrete saws
- Indoor tractor pulls
- Boats engines
- Spray paint, solvents, degreasers, and paint removers
Risks for exposure to carbon monoxide include
- Children riding in the back of enclosed pickup trucks
- Using heating sources or electric generators during power outages
- Those working indoors with combustion engines or combustible gases
- Using charcoal for household chores
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms
Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are
- Fatigue, are often mistaken for the flu because the deadly gas goes undetected in a home. Prolonged exposure can lead to brain damage and even death.
Other symptoms include: –
- Shortness of breath on exertion
- Impaired judgment
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Visual changes
- Memory problems
- Walking problem
If you or someone you know has any of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, then immediately go to a hospital, particularly if several people in the household are affected.
- Move all family members to fresh air away from the source of carbon monoxide (CO).
- No home therapy is available for carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Seek medical care in a hospital emergency department.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prognosis
Even with proper treatment, some people develop long-term brain damage, resulting in complications such as:-
- Severe memory loss
- Difficulty thinking
- Other neurologic or psychiatric problems.
Death can result from severe cases. So we must always keep in mind that carbon mono oxide is a silent killer and we all need to avoid the risks to exposure.