Friday, September 17, 2010
2:36 PM James Manuel 5 comments
Carbon monoxide is a gas that is formed when incomplete combustion occurs, whether in an automobile engine or in heating appliances that burn coal or other fossil fuels, especially gas. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. So how does it kill?
Red blood cells carry vital oxygen to the body’s tissues. The toxicity of carbon monoxide lies in the fact that it is absorbed by red blood cells in preference to oxygen. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs as the body becomes starved of oxygen. Exposure to low emissions of carbon monoxide over a period of time can result in permanent brain damage. Symptoms include headache, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and fainting—and in severe cases, weak pulse, coma, and respiratory failure. If a person is suddenly overcome, prompt administration of oxygen and respiratory assistance are essential before asphyxiation—insufficient oxygen reaching the brain—causes death.