Weekly First-aid Topic: Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning
From:Beijing Municipal Health Commission

In winter, the chances of contacting charcoal fires and gases are increasing, leading to a period of high incidence of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless. It invades the human respiratory tract unknowingly, enters the blood through alveolar gas exchange, and spreads throughout the body. It combines with red blood cells in the blood, so that the red blood cells can no longer combine with oxygen, and the oxygen content in the blood drops significantly, causing poisoning due to lack of oxygen of the body. The onset time and severity of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are closely related to the indoor concentration of carbon monoxide. Young people are more sensitive to carbon monoxide than the elderly. Pregnant women, obese people and people with chronic heart and lung diseases are prone to poisoning. The central nervous system is the most sensitive part to hypoxia, it is also the first part to show poisoning symptoms.

The following symptoms occur commonly in carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mild poisoning will cause symptoms of headache, dizziness, palpitation, nausea, and vomiting. Moderate poisoning may show the above symptoms more severely, with flushed face, cherry-red lips, excessive sweating, irritability, and gradual coma. People with severe poisoning will be unconscious with the symptoms including incontinence of urine and feces, cold limbs, dilated pupils, decreased blood pressure, weak or stopped breathing, stiff or limp limbs, and electrocardiogram showing myocardial damage or arrhythmia. Patients who survive after active rescue often have serious sequelae, such as paralysis, dementia, mental illness, etc. The longer the coma lasts, the more severe and complex the sequelae will be. Therefore, it is particularly important for the patients to get away from the source of danger as soon as possible and send go to the hospital for treatment as soon as possible.

Here are some health tips from 120. If symptoms of mild carbon monoxide poisoning such as headache, dizziness, palpitations, nausea, and vomiting occur, it is necessary to leave the poisoning scene immediately, breathe fresh air, and call others for help. If you find someone suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, you should immediately open a window for ventilation and sent the patient out to a safe area for some fresh air, loosen the clothes, and keep the respiratory tract of the patient open. If vomiting occurs, you should tilt the patient's head to one side and clean up the oral secretions. It is recommended to call the emergency call 120 as soon as possible, carry out on-site first aid under the guidance of the dispatcher, and wait for the ambulance at a visible location.