It is extremely important to seek carbon monoxide poisoning treatment as soon as possible, once you become aware of it. This type of poisoning is very serious, and prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to brain damage or death. Carbon monoxide is colorless, and odorless - many people do not realize that there is a problem until dangerous symptoms present themselves. The early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, fatigue and headache.
The first step of carbon monoxide poisoning treatment is to remove people and pets away from the source of the carbon monoxide. Common sources in the home include gas powered water heaters, stoves, and generators. The fire department should be called to find the source before people re-enter the home and subject themselves to potential poisoning.
If someone has been exposed to carbon monoxide they should seek immediate medical care at a hospital's emergency room. Doctors will start treatment by administering oxygen. The most common way to give oxygen is by a mask covering the mouth and nose and attached behind the head. If the patient is unable to properly breathe on their own a breathing machine may be used to assist in breathing, as well as in the administration of oxygen. While the patient is getting oxygen blood will be drawn to test the carbon monoxide levels in the blood.
If the blood tests indicate a very high level of carbon monoxide, the patient may be put in a hyperbaric chamber to receive oxygen. A hyperbaric chamber puts the oxygen under pressure, which allows the oxygen to permeate the body and remove the carbon monoxide from the blood faster.
The patient's blood levels of the poison will be closely monitored, and they will not be discharged until all carbon monoxide is out of their system. If a pregnant woman is exposed to carbon monoxide she may be kept in the hospital longer to ensure that the carbon monoxide is out of her blood, as well as the blood of the fetus.
In the weeks following the poisoning treatment, the patient should pay close attention to their body, and report any changes in vision, balance, or coordination to their doctor immediately. Most people that receive prompt treatment will make a full recovery, but even with treatment it is possible for brain damage to occur in extreme cases.