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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Headache is a common symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition to known exposures, winter presentation (heating systems), typical symptoms, and clustering of cases all suggest this diagnosis. There is a correlation with winter months; other people in the house being ill, problems with home heating, or use of kerosene or gas space heaters.


  • Carbon monoxide poisoning may cause brain damage and in severe cases, death.
  • Mostly the Carbon monoxide poisoning is caused by inhaling carbon monoxide fumes. If too much carbon monoxide in the air, then your body will replace the oxygen in the hemoglobin of your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This keeps life-sustaining oxygen from reaching your tissues and organs.
  • Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide may come from many sources, such as including heating systems, car engines, jet ski and boat motors, cooking appliances, or fires. If fuel-burning appliances are used properly, then very little carbon monoxide is produced. But if the appliances are not used properly, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up in enclosed areas, such as inside houses and other buildings and it may causes to the various effects.


Symptoms correlate variably with the carboxyhemoglobin level (CoHb); levels up to 9% can be seen in smokers and 2% to 4% in patients in congested urban areas. In general, the CoHb levels listed below roughly correlate to the following symptoms:

  • 10% to 20% - headache, dizziness, chest pain, dyspnea
  • 20% to 30% - visual disturbances, confusion
  • 30% to 40% - syncope
  • 40% to 50% - seizures, coma, death at levels >55% or 60%
  • Headache is very common


  • Physical examination is usually normal.
  • Cutaneous and mucosal erythema, retinal hemorrhages, and bullae on the skin are all rare.


  • Treatment for Carbon monoxide poisoning is high-dose oxygen and usually you can use facemask attached to an oxygen reserve bag.
  • You can also used pressure chamber, if available, to give even higher doses of oxygen.
  • For the treatment of CO poisoning, any combustion appliances should be turned off.
  • Most effective treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning is oxygen therapy. In which oxygen therapy, it replaces the carbon monoxide in the blood with oxygen. Two kinds of oxygen therapy, First is the 100% oxygen therapy, in which oxygen is delivered through a tight-fitting mask; and the other is hyperbaric oxygen therapy, in which oxygen is delivered in a full-body chamber under pressure to remove the carbon monoxide faster.

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