CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

Carbon monoxide (CO) is emitted by faulty heating equipment as a result of incomplete combustion of carbon based fuel (eg methane).

CO is very toxic and binds with a high affinity to haemoglobin - forming carboxyhaemoglobin (hbCO). This renders erythrocytes incapable of oxygen transport - resulting in damage to body sytems due to hypoxia.

The amount of hbCO in the body and corresponding clinical symptoms are:

> 20 %

> 30 %

> 60 - 70 %

> 70 %

Dyspnoea, slight headache

Severe headache, fatigue and impairment of judgement

Loss of consciousness

Rapidly fatal

NB Carboxyhaemoglobin has a vivid colour leading to a cherry pink complexion of the skin.

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