Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and first aid
Carbon monoxide poisoning in the modern world, despite the technical progress, has not lost its relevance. Work or long walks near roads with busy traffic, non-observance of basic safety rules for heating using an open flame (burning) and the included car engine in the garage pose a threat and contribute to the occurrence of poisoning.
The absence of smell and color in a hazardous gas and a high percentage of deaths indicate the appropriateness of mastering the skills of first aid in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Causes and contributing factors of carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is formed as a result of incomplete combustion (oxidation). Invisible to humans, it penetrates into the blood, easily and much faster than oxygen, interacts with hemoglobin and forms a decomposition-resistant compound - carboxyhemoglobin. As a result, hemoglobin is unable to transport oxygen, and a state of hypoxia (oxygen starvation) occurs.
Where can I get poisoned by carbon monoxide?
- large volumes of CO in megacities produce and emit cars together with exhaust gases;
- fires - household and natural (forest and peat burning);
- high concentration (content) of CO in small spaces is created in the car and / or garage with the engine running;
- in perfectly isolated new buildings with incorrect operation of heating appliances, as well as apartments or offices in the premises of old houses where they use stoves and do not clean chimneys;
- production of organic substances (methyl alcohol, acetone and others), the synthesis of which provides for the use of carbon monoxide.
Clinical manifestations: signs, symptoms and degrees of affection with carbon monoxide
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are due to its special destructive properties on health and life processes. Lack of oxygen affects the condition of the whole body with the maximum damage to the nervous system, as well as the organs of circulation and respiration.
The severity of the disturbance depends on the CO content in the ambient air and the time (duration) of the stay in dangerous conditions. Headache and dizziness, nausea and vomiting, weakness, violation of heart function and orientation, loss of consciousness (fainting) occur in the victim who breathes air with the presence of carbon monoxide 0.02-0.03% for a period of time up to 6 hours. An increase in the concentration of CO to a level of 0.1-0.2% causes someone to provoke a halt in breathing and death.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning indicate the defeat of vital organs.
Disorders of mild to moderate degree are characterized by:
- pain of the head in the forehead or temples (pulsation), sometimes around the head;
- noise in the ears, "flies" before the eyes, dizziness;
- nausea, sometimes vomiting;
- impaired coordination and consciousness;
- quality of vision and hearing reduced;
- the pulse and respiration rate increases;
- discomfort in the heart and palpitations;
- shortness of breath (lack of oxygen).
Severe degree of lesion is manifested:
- a violation of consciousness with the development of coma;
- Cramps, involuntary acts of defecation and urination are not excluded;
- frequent (more than 130 beats per minute) and a weak pulse;
- respiration is irregular, superficial and ineffective.
Cells of the brain, due to high sensitivity to oxygen deficiency, suffer in the first place. Headache and tinnitus, shortness of breath, frequent pulse, palpitations and nausea, muscle weakness and shaking are the first signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. The general condition and well-being of the victim improve when he goes to fresh air.
There are special (atypical) forms of poisoning:
- fainting - a sharp drop in blood pressure with loss of consciousness against the background of pale skin and mucous membranes;
- and euphoric - psychomotor agitation with delirium and hallucinations grow into a violation of consciousness, the cessation of breathing and the work of the heart.
No less dangerous is chronic poisoning due to the long-term effects of CO. In this case, disorders of the nervous and endocrine systems develop.
Provision of first emergency aid for carbon monoxide poisoning
Treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning includes emergency assistance to the victim and qualified therapy.
In case of occurrence of the listed signs in the conditions of the raised risk it is necessary to render the first medical aid at a poisoning with a gas.
- To stop the influence of gas - if possible, to remove a person from the CO zone to fresh air, to eliminate (block) the flow of gas in compliance with their own safety.
- Provide access to oxygen - open windows and doors, check airway patency, unfasten tight clothes and collar, remove necktie and / or belt. If a person is disturbed by consciousness, turn it to one side, such a position of the victim's body prevents the tongue from twisting.
- The use of liquid ammonia will return the patient to consciousness, rubbing and cold compresses on the chest stimulate blood circulation.
- If the victim is conscious, a hot drink (tea or coffee) helps to stabilize the condition - caffeine activates the nervous system and breathing.
- If breathing and pulse are absent - to conduct elementary resuscitative (animating) actions - artificial respiration and indirect heart massage.
Let us summarize what to do with carbon monoxide poisoning.
"It is necessary to call an ambulance for a qualified assessment of the victim's condition and provision of comprehensive therapy, to provide available assistance and to provide rest, and in parallel - take care of their own safety."
Treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning
Treatment in hospital includes a set of the following measures:
- oxygenotherapy - breathing pure oxygen with a mask;
- treatment of metabolic acidosis - restoration of acid-base metabolism;
- symptomatic therapy.
In the case of severe disorders that threaten the patient's life, with loss and disturbance of consciousness, as well as pregnant women, it is recommended to conduct hyperbaric oxygenation - oxygen treatment under a pressure of 2 atmospheres under the conditions of a pressure chamber. Such therapy hinders the development of neurological complications and promotes faster and full recovery.
How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning? To avoid intoxication with CO, the following preventive measures are required:
- at facilities where CO is used, conduct regular training and provide work premises with CO-detectors;
- use exclusively serviceable and high-quality heating equipment;
- During furnace heating, clean and check the chimneys for functionality;
- Ventilate rooms or use ventilation where open-flame appliances are used (gas stove and column);
- observe safety precautions when the car engine is switched on in the garage - adequate ventilation and air exchange, make sure not to fall asleep while the engine is running in the car;
- Do not spend a lot of time near roads (freeways) with active traffic.
Thus, alertness and awareness of the possible risks of carbon monoxide poisoning will help prevent an emergency situation. In the opposite case - when poisoning with gas is necessary not to panic and follow the recommendations. Sharpness and coherence of actions will save not only health, but also life.