The Silent Danger
I call it Winter Ninja: carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, deadly gas that is produced by the decomposition of carbon. So deadly that it is currently the world leader in deaths due to a toxin. In the winter months, far more deaths occur because CO is emitted from house heating systems, but also vehicles with catalytic converters give it up. Because CO is part of our everyday lives, its spread is the cause of its deadly effects. As a ten-year-old boy, I have received some unwelcome first-hand knowledge of the dangers of CO, a story to follow.
My Close Call
Please understand that That this next section is in no way a blow to my parents: I've become something special by modern American standards, but I'm forever grateful for the combination of love, support, hard work, and risk that made me that My older brother and I worked in the US for special operations, and are among the two most successful people who come from our hometown of 200 people on the eastern slopes of the Montana Rocky Mountains of Lima, some of the descriptive memories include the shooting out the bed at 3 o'clock in the morning to get firewood in front of the school in the shadow of the dark (good for the forest, still illegal) out of the forest; hunt for ours Pet wolf walking through the woods, chewing and fleeing through the metal cable; and regularly in the rear wheel of my 1970s ¾-ton red Ford pickup. It was the back of the truck that came within minutes and miles when my story ended prematurely.
Just before a long drive to look at houses for rent, my dad put a caravan on the back of his car. Although we were used to riding in the back of the tunnel, the free air had previously diluted the CO to a safe level. My father was great at "mission planning" to avoid withdrawal. Therefore, the exit was split between stops to explore the country with the longest route on the way home. Halfway through the return trip, my brother and sister had fallen asleep near the tailgate and I was awake near the taxi, but had a headache.
We made at McDonald & # 39; s stop to reward a long day of good behavior, a rare treat in my time Parents 'financial constraints and parents' health awareness as we stumbled through the restaurant, we stumbled to other tables, our parents got upset and thought we were clowns, we did not feel well, but we had no chance to enjoy the chicken nugget luxury, and for one reason that I can remember for McDonald's, I became for Rest of the trip home brought in the taxi and promptly returned to my lap The truck began to move Instincts are now alerted, my mother found out, and immediately my father had to stop to pack my brother and sister in the taxi. As funny as it sounds, chicken nuggets have saved my life. Without the uncharacteristic McDonalds stop to break the home track, I'm sure my siblings are not here. That's why CO is so dangerous. That way you stay on the safe side.
How Carbon Monoxide Kills
In your blood, the hemoglobin molecules are like small freight cars, each with four seats, to carry oxygen into the tissues where it's needed to keep your cells alive. CO is structurally similar to oxygen, allowing your body to fill these seats, and it's 200 times better than oxygen! So, the blood draw goes off as if it were circulating to feed the tissues, but on board is far less oxygen than your body hoped for.
Normal levels of CO blood are between 2 and 3 percent, cigarette smokers generally range from 6 to 10 percent, and regular Hookah smokers increase up to about 15 percent. Symptoms of poisoning occur at around 20 percent, and over 25 percent carry a significant risk of permanent damage to your most oxygen-dependent tissue, such as the brain and heart. In addition to the initial hypoxic attack, CO also triggers a severe inflammatory response that continues to attack tissue after normal oxygen levels have been restored, leading to permanent brain damage weeks to months after the event.
What to look for
CO toxicity makes you feel like a flu. Headaches and fatigue are outstanding symptoms, looking for muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and balance disorders. Due to the high oxygen demand of the heart also chest pain, shortness of breath and unconsciousness occur. CO is a gas that spreads in the immediate area. Therefore, be very worried if several people in the same house develop influenza symptoms at the same time. In addition, all mammals have a similar CO physiology, so that the dog, who is also ill, is a huge red flag. Because CO is essentially invisible, it's important that CO alarms (such as Nest Protect's Double Smoke and CO alarm) are present in your home: within 10 feet (15 feet) of the inside door Your garage (if appropriate) at the top of the basement stairs and at each level.
What to do
If there is any suspicion of CO poisoning, the first step is to go outside and prevent further exposure. All toxins are dose-dependent. It is strongly recommended that you are in your nearest emergency room to be checked out. The vendor can order a simple blood test called co-oximetry, which looks for a carboxyhemoglobin content. It is noteworthy that the medical tradition receives a painful arterial blood test to test this. More recently, it is accepted that a standard venous blood sampling is appropriate, and I would like to request that if I am examined.
The treatment of CO toxicity is oxygen. Depending on your symptoms and values, this may range from a face mask called a non-rebreather to a hyperbaric chamber that is commonly used in diving injuries and wound treatments. The half-life (time for half a concentration of a substance to leave the body) of carboxyhemoglobin is 4 to 6 hours, breathing room air, 1 hour with 100 percent oxygen through the mask for the non-rebreather and 20 to 30 minutes at a Normal pressure in a hyperbaric chamber. Even if your levels are okay, it is also important to contact the gas company and get your house checked.
Jedidiah Ballard, DO, is an ambulance and former Army Rangers Battalion Surgeon