Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and first aid
Carbon monoxide poisoning in the modern world, despite technical progress, has not lost its relevance. Work or long walks near roads with heavy traffic, failure to observe elementary safety rules for heating using an open flame (burning) and the switched on car engine in the garage pose a threat and contribute to the occurrence of poisoning.
The absence of odor and color in a hazardous gas and the high percentage of deaths indicate the appropriateness of mastering first aid skills in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Causes and contributing factors of carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is formed as a result of incomplete combustion (oxidation). Unnoticed by humans, it penetrates the bloodstream, easily and much faster than oxygen, interacts with hemoglobin and forms compounds that are resistant to disintegration - carboxyhemoglobin. As a result, hemoglobin is unable to transport oxygen, and hypoxia (oxygen starvation) occurs.
Where can I get poisoned with carbon monoxide?
- large amounts of CO in megacities produce and emit cars with exhaust gases;
- fires - domestic and natural (forest and peat burning);
- high concentration (content) of CO in small rooms is created in the passenger compartment and / or garage with the engine running;
- in perfectly insulated new buildings in case of improper operation of heating devices, 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 involves the use of carbon monoxide.
Clinical manifestations: signs, symptoms and degrees of carbon monoxide damage
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are due to its particular destructive properties on health and vital processes. The lack of oxygen affects the state of the whole organism with maximum damage to the nervous system, as well as circulatory and respiratory organs.
The severity of the violation depends on the CO content in the ambient air and the time (duration) of exposure to hazardous conditions. Headache and dizziness, nausea and vomiting, weakness, impaired function of the heart and orientation, loss of consciousness (fainting) occur in the victim, who breathes air with carbon monoxide gas 0.02–0.03% for a period of time up to 6 hours. Increasing the concentration of CO to the level of 0.1–0.2% causes coma, causes respiratory failure and death.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning indicate damage to vital organs.
Violations of light and moderate degree characterized by:
- head pain in the forehead or temples (ripple), sometimes around the head;
- tinnitus, "flies" before the eyes, dizziness;
- nausea, sometimes vomiting;
- violation of coordination and consciousness;
- the quality of vision and hearing is reduced;
- the frequency of pulse and respiration increases;
- heart discomfort and palpitations;
- shortness of breath (lack of oxygen).
Severe lesion is manifested:
- violation of consciousness with the development of coma;
- convulsions, involuntary act of defecation and urination are not excluded;
- frequent (more than 130 beats / min) and a weak pulse;
- irregular, shallow and ineffective breathing.
Cells of the brain, due to their high sensitivity to oxygen deficiency, are the first to suffer. Headache and tinnitus, shortness of breath, rapid pulse, palpitations and nausea, possible muscle weakness and trembling are the first signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. The general condition and well-being of the victim improve when he goes into the 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 delusions and hallucinations develop into impaired consciousness, cessation of breathing and heart function.
No less dangerous is chronic poisoning due to the prolonged effect of CO. In this case, disorders of the nervous and endocrine systems develop.
Providing first emergency aid in carbon monoxide poisoning
Treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning includes emergency care and skilled therapy.
In case of occurrence of the listed symptoms in high-risk conditions, first aid should be provided in case of poisoning with chadny gas.
- To stop the influence of the chadna gas - if possible, move a person out of the CO action area to fresh air, eliminate (shut off) the gas intake, while respecting his own safety.
- Provide access to oxygen - open windows and doors, check the airway, undo tight clothing and a collar, take off a tie and / or a belt. If a person’s consciousness is impaired, turn him on one side, such a position of the victim’s body prevents the tongue from falling down.
- The use of liquid ammonia will bring the patient back to consciousness, rubbing and cold compresses on the chest stimulate blood circulation.
- If the victim is conscious, a hot drink (tea or coffee) helps stabilize the condition - caffeine activates the nervous system and respiration.
- If breathing and pulse are absent - to carry out elementary resuscitation (revitalizing) actions - artificial respiration and an indirect heart massage.
Let's summarize what to do in case of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“It is imperative to call an ambulance for a qualified assessment of the victim’s condition and to provide comprehensive therapy, to provide accessible assistance and ensure rest, and at the same time take care of their own safety.”
Carbon monoxide poisoning treatment
Inpatient treatment includes a set of the following activities:
- oxygen therapy - 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 impairment of consciousness, as well as pregnant women are recommended to carry out hyperbaric oxygenation - treatment with oxygen under pressure of 2 atmospheres in a pressure chamber. This therapy prevents the development of neurological complications and contributes to more rapid and complete recovery.
How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning? To avoid CO intoxication, the following poisoning prevention measures are necessary:
- in enterprises where CO is used, conduct regular briefings and provide workers with CO detectors;
- use only serviceable and high-quality heating equipment;
- in furnace heating, clean and check chimneys for functionality;
- ventilate the room or use ventilation where open flame appliances are used (gas stove and column);
- take precautions when the car engine is turned on in the garage - sufficient ventilation and air exchange, take care not to fall asleep while the engine is running inside the car;
- Do not spend much time near roads (freeways) with active traffic.
Thus, alertness and awareness of the possible risks of carbon monoxide poisoning will help prevent an abnormal situation. In the opposite case - in case of poisoning with chadny gas it is necessary not to panic and follow the recommendations given. Clarity and coherence of action will save not only health but also life.