What to Do in Case of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
– Carbon monoxide poisoning: a toxic gas
– Carbon monoxide poisoning: what to do
– Carbon monoxide poisoning: a simple prevention
Cases of intoxication are frequent and can be of different natures: poisoning, gas intoxication, and carbon monoxide intoxication.
Warning: in case of carbon monoxide poisoning, you should not hesitate to call 911 to alert emergency services.
Carbon monoxide poisoning: a toxic gas
Effects of carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a gas associated with carbon and oxygen (CO). It is produced by the combustion of organic substances such as coal or wood. It does not emit any odour and is not detectable, but it is very toxic, which increases its danger.
When inhaled, the product binds to the hemoglobin and spreads rapidly through the body.
It progressively causes asphyxiation, which can be fatal if not treated in time.
Good to know: its emission is caused by defective heating appliances that are often poorly maintained (wood stoves, boilers, water heaters, ovens, etc.). Indeed, the presence of carbon monoxide results from incomplete combustion (whatever the fuel used).
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
This type of gas is not detected by the people who inhale it and, without knowing it, undergo a progressive intoxication.
However, certain signs can alert headaches, altered consciousness, dizziness, tachycardia, fatigue, and nausea.
Carbon monoxide poisoning: what to do
The association of these clinical signs with the presence of one of the devices mentioned above must immediately lead to a cause-and-effect relationship.
In case of intoxication:
– Turn off the power to the appliance concerned.
– Ventilate the room and, if possible, leave the premises immediately.
– Call 911 for help.
– If the victim is conscious, stay with him or her (bring him or her near a window to facilitate oxygenation) until help arrives.
– If the victim is unconscious, check vital signs (breathing, pulse).
– If the victim is breathing, place him or her in the lateral position of safety.
Tip: If the victim is not breathing, perform CPR if you have been trained. Otherwise, wait for help to arrive.
Carbon monoxide poisoning: a simple prevention
There are some simple measures to put in place to prevent this type of accident.
First, regularly maintain your heating and hot water production equipment, and have it serviced at least once a year by a professional.
Also, have your chimney flues serviced by a professional.
Remember to air the rooms in your home regularly and ensure proper ventilation (do not block the vents).
Scrupulously respect the instructions for your heating appliances (for example, a space heater should not be turned on continuously).
Do not use unsuitable appliances to heat your home (stove, barbecue, etc.)!