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Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odourless, tasteless, colourless, non irritant gas. It is generated by the incomplete combustion of Carbon or Hydrocarbons. Carbon monoxide poisoning happens when the gas is breathed in over a period of time.

The major sources are faulty domestic heating boilers, smoke exposure and car exhaust fumes.
The proportion of accidental to non accidental CO exposure in the UK is 50/50 on a consistent basis. Peak incidence seems to be the quarter starting November. It is estimated that CO poisoning causes 1800 deaths per annum in the UK.

Powered carbon monoxide detectors are becoming cheaper all the time, and have the advantage over the spot detectors of giving an audible and visual warning of a dangerous build up of the carbon monoxide gas.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Symptoms most commonly seen are :

Treatment for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning

Patients being treated for CO poisoning are put into the hyperbaric chamber with an attendant for a period of up to 4 hours.

During this time they will be breathing pure oxygen at a depth equivalent to 18 metres underwater. The treatment itself is painless and quickly resolves many of the apparent symptoms of CO poisoning such as headache and dizziness.



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