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Carbon monoxide poisoning – causes, side effects and treatments at

Friday, February 02, 2018 by

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas that is known to be dangerous when inhaled. Breathing in carbon monoxide leads to poisoning, which causes sudden illness and even death. The chemical is found in combustion fumes — such as those produced by cars and trucks, lanterns, stoves, gas ranges, and heating systems — and can accumulate in places where a good flow of fresh air is not available. Other factors which increase CO poisoning include having blocked flues and chimneys, burning fuel in an enclosed or unventilated space, having a faulty or blocked car exhaust, breathing in paint fumes, and smoking shisha pipes indoors.

Known side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning manifests its symptoms to varying degrees. In some cases, it leads to permanent brain damage, with symptoms such as severe memory loss, cognitive impairment, and neurological and psychiatric problems. Moreover, carbon monoxide poisoning can also affect the heart and result in cardiac abnormalities.

The condition is known to be so quick and fatal that sleeping or intoxicated people can die from CO poisoning before ever showing symptoms. However, common signs and symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • fatigue and loss of energy
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • breathlessness
  • unclear and blurred vision
  • unconsciousness

Body systems harmed by carbon monoxide poisoning

The body systems damaged by carbon monoxide poisoning are the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, and ocular systems.

List of foods or nutrients that prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

There is no information on what certain foods or nutrients can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. However, according to an entry published on the website, a high dosage of glutathione and vitamin C given intravenously can be helpful in times of emergencies due to chemical poisoning. In addition, eating organically grown foods or a diet high in fiber can help eliminate toxins from the body. Foods rich in fiber include almonds, beans, oatmeal, barley, carrots, bananas, spinach, garlic, onions, and yogurt.

Treatments, management plans for carbon monoxide poisoning

The first step in treating CO poisoning is to move away from the possible source of the gas leak so that symptoms could be analyzed. If the person is exposed to elevated levels of carbon monoxide, standard oxygen therapy may be required. In standard oxygen therapy, the patient is given pure oxygen through a tight-fitting mask. This is done until the carboxyhemoglobin levels decrease to less than 10 percent.

Another treatment for this CO poisoning is hyperbaric oxygen therapy, wherein the body is saturated with pure oxygen — which helps it to overcome the body’s lack of oxygen following CO poisoning. It may be used in cases where there is extensive exposure to carbon monoxide and nerve damage is suspected.

Where to learn more


Carbon monoxide poisoning is a condition wherein CO gas is inhaled, causing severe damage — even death.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to permanent brain damage, which in turn results in severe memory loss, problems affecting the thinking process, neurological problems, and psychiatric problems.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can also cause heart damage, resulting in cardiac abnormalities.

Carbon monoxide poisoning harms the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, and ocular systems.

Treatments for carbon monoxide poisoning include standard oxygen therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.


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