For the immediate treatment of carbon monoxide
poisoning, it is important that you remove yourself from the area where the gas
may be present. If carbon monoxide poisoning is known or suspected, get out of
the building or car where the carbon monoxide is present.
you are taken to the hospital, you may be given oxygen therapy. The most common
type of oxygen therapy, called 100% oxygen therapy, involves breathing oxygen
through a tight-fitting mask. If you have severe carbon monoxide poisoning and
can't breathe on your own, a breathing machine may be used to help you breathe
and to provide extra oxygen. In some cases, a person may receive
hyperbaric oxygen therapy. During this treatment, you
are put into a full-body chamber that uses oxygen under pressure (hyperbaric
chamber) to remove the carbon monoxide faster.
Several factors are
considered when treating carbon monoxide poisoning. Tests are done to find out
the amount of carbon monoxide in the blood. Infants, small children, older
adults, and people with health problems are more severely affected by carbon
monoxide in the blood. Treatment usually includes oxygen therapy to treat
severe symptoms and to lower carbon monoxide levels in the blood as quickly as
If treatment is timely, most people are able to recover
from carbon monoxide poisoning. If it is not treated, severe carbon monoxide
poisoning can lead to heart or brain damage or death. Even after treatment, a
person who survives a severe case of carbon monoxide poisoning may have
permanent memory loss or brain damage. But most people who are critically
injured or who die from carbon monoxide poisoning never received treatment. It
is especially important to be aware of the warning signs and to seek immediate
treatment if carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected. For more information, see
the Symptoms section of this topic.
What To Think About
Oxygen therapy should not be delayed while tests are being
During the weeks following treatment, any changes in vision,
coordination, or behavior should be reported to your doctor.
If a pregnant woman has carbon monoxide poisoning, treatment
must be continued even after carbon monoxide is no longer found in her blood,
because there still may be carbon monoxide in the blood of the fetus.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 18, 2008
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this