CO is the chemical formula for carbon monoxide , a gaseous compound of oxygen and carbon. The gas is usually created by incomplete combustion or by combustion with insufficient oxygen supply . Poorly functioning heating stoves, clogged chimneys, smoldering fires and exhaust fumes in closed rooms all lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. The cooling of grills in closed rooms can also be a trigger. Year after year, deadly poisoning occurs from the odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. The most famous victim of carbon monoxide poisoning was Emile Zola , whose chimney was blocked. The ARD presenter Miriam Christmann and her partner also died from carbon monoxide. They put the grill off the patio and into the bedroom to cool off. An operating extractor hood, for example in the kitchen, and an open fire in the fireplace, for example in the living room, also represent a dangerous combination. However, windows that are too airtight or too little ventilation in the bathroom can also result in deadly traps when the water heater is on Gas base works.
Why is carbon monoxide so dangerous?
Since carbon monoxide cannot be perceived by the human senses, it represents a particular danger. If carbon monoxide enters the blood through the air we breathe, it forms a chemical compound with the iron core in hemoglobin. The transport of oxygen is prevented , suffocation occurs. At the beginning there are headaches and dizziness and severe tiredness. With increasing intoxication, the nervous system and the heart are particularly affected. Even at this point in time, permanent consequential damage to the organism can occur. Carbon monoxide binds 325 times more strongly to hemoglobin than oxygen, which is why half of the red blood cells are impaired in their function with a 0.1 percent proportion of carbon monoxide in the air we breathe. Chronic carbon monoxide poisoning must be distinguished from the acute form of carbon monoxide poisoning. It occurs in people who regularly stay in rooms with an excessive but not too high concentration of carbon monoxide. Reduced performance, chronic fatigue and depression can be the consequences.
danger zone and rescue measures
As soon as there is a possibility that a person has lost consciousness due to an excessive concentration of carbon monoxide in a room, the first responder should exercise extreme caution. The poisoned person should be taken out of the danger zone to fresh air as soon as possible and all windows should be opened. If a quick and safe rescue is not possible, for example from a basement, you have to wait for the emergency services. In this case, self-protection takes precedence over external protection. EMTs will begin administering oxygen and bicarbonate immediately. Those affected are usually intubated and artificially ventilated with oxygen. The high concentration of oxygen displaces the carbon monoxide. For rescuers and doctors, in addition to the blood values, the cherry-red mucous membranes are an external sign, but only from a higher degree of poisoning. Also, the livid spots in people poisoned with CO are red.