Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Causes of Carbon, Symptoms, Risk Factors (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Title: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

What is Carbon Monoxide?

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas, which is produced by the combustion of materials that contain carbon.
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning results in brain damage and even death. As carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas we can՚t see, smell, or taste it, but it can be fatal for human beings.
  • Symptoms of Carbon monoxide Poising
  • Breathing in a large amount of carbon monoxide can replace the oxygen in the blood with CO and can lead to unconsciousness which can be life-threatening. The symptoms of excessive consumption of CO are as follows: Headache.
  • Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel. Improperly ventilated appliances and engines, particularly in a tightly sealed or enclosed space, may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels.

Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is formed when organic compounds are burned in the presence of oxygen. Exhaust gases from the motor vehicles, engine fumes, fire smoke and non-electric heaters are the most common source of carbon monoxide production. Carbon monoxide is found in any combustion fumes that are produced by the following sources:

  • Boats Engines
  • Car Engines
  • Car mufflers
  • Charcoal grills
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Degreasers
  • Fireplaces
  • Gas water heaters
  • Gasoline and diesel-powered generators
  • Gasoline powered concrete saws
  • Indoor tractor pulls
  • Kerosene space heaters
  • Non-Electric heaters
  • Paint removers
  • Portable generators
  • Propane heaters and stoves
  • Propane-fueled forklifts
  • Solvents
  • Space heaters
  • Spray paint

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Breathing in a large amount of carbon monoxide can replace the oxygen in the blood with . If this happens, a person will become unconscious and can be life-threatening. The symptoms of excessive consumption of are as follows:
    • Headache
    • Weakness
    • Nausea
    • Dizziness
    • Vomiting
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Death
    • Blurred vision
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning can be particularly dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated. People may have irreversible brain damage or even die before anyone realizes there՚s a problem.

Prevention of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

To avoid getting poisoned by carbon monoxide proper preventive measures must be taken. Some of the preventive measures are given below.

  • There must be plenty of ventilation in houses with lots of traffics or factories in the area.
  • Detectors must be used and placed near the source of .
  • Sleeping near a kerosene or a gas space heater must be prevented.
  • The symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning should never be ignored.

Risk Factors

  • Unborn babies - Fetal blood cells take up carbon monoxide more readily than adult blood cells do. This makes unborn babies more susceptible to harm from carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Children - Young children take breaths more frequently than adults do, which may make them more susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Older adults - Older people who experience carbon monoxide poisoning may be more likely to develop brain damage.
  • People who have chronic heart disease - People with a history of anemia and breathing problems also are more likely to get sick from exposure to carbon monoxide.
  • Those in whom carbon monoxide poisoning leads to unconsciousness. Loss of consciousness indicates more severe exposure.


Depending on the degree and length of exposure, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause:

  • Permanent brain damage
  • Damage to your heart, possibly leading to life-threatening cardiac complications
  • Fetal death or miscarriage
  • Death


What Causes Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?


  • Household devices, such as gas fires, boilers, central heating systems, water heaters, cookers, and open fires that use gas, oil, coal, and wood can be possible gas sources.
  • This occurs when the fire isn՚t completely burning. Running a car engine in a confined space can lead to poisoning.

Does Carbon Monoxide Make You Sleepy?


Many people with moderate carbon monoxide exposure experience headaches, tiredness, and nausea. Sadly, since they are mostly flu-like, the signs are often ignored. Medium exposure can lead to headache, drowsiness, disorientation and increased heart rate.

Can You Smell Carbon Monoxide?


  • Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas formed by carbon-containing burning content. You cannot see it, smell it or taste it; but you can be killed by carbon monoxide.
  • It is known as the “silent killer,” because carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas.

What Gas Smells like Rotten Eggs?


  • Hydrogen Sulfide. Natural gas is a gas that is efficient, clean, colorless and odorless.
  • We add a harmless chemical called mercaptan to give a distinctive odor to gas for easy detection. Many people describe the smell as odour-like rotten eggs or hydrogen sulfide.

What is an Unsafe Carbon Monoxide Level?


The concentration is in parts per million (ppm) measured. Health effects from about 1 to 70 ppm of exposure is unclear, but most people do not feel any symptoms. As rates rise above 150 to 200 ppm, there is space for disorientation, unconsciousness and death.

How Does Carbon Monoxide Affect the Human Body?


  • Carbon monoxide has positive and adverse effects on humans. Increased levels of carbon monoxide in red blood cells decrease the amount of oxygen hemoglobin carries throughout the body.
  • The effect is that vital organs like the brain, nervous tissues, and the heart don՚t get enough oxygen to function properly.

What Problems Does Carbon Monoxide Cause?


  • Breathing can cause headache, dizziness, vomiting, and nausea. If level is high enough, you may become unconscious or die.
  • Exposure to moderate and high levels of over long periods of time has also been linked with increased risk of heart diseases.

How Do You Get Rid of Carbon Monoxide?


  • Breathing in pure oxygen is the only way to treat the poisoning. The procedure raises blood oxygen levels and helps keep out of the body.
  • The doctor will put an oxygen mask over the mouth and nose and ask you to inhale it.

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