Get into fresh air immediately and call 911 or emergency medical help if you or someone you're with develops signs or symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. These include headache, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, weakness and confusion.
Once you're at the hospital, treatment may involve:
Feb. 24, 2015
- Breathing pure oxygen. In the emergency room, you may breathe pure oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth. This helps oxygen reach your organs and tissues. If you can't breathe on your own, a machine (ventilator) may do the breathing for you.
Spending time in a pressurized oxygen chamber. In many cases, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is recommended. This therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a chamber in which the air pressure is about two to three times higher than normal. This speeds the replacement of carbon monoxide with oxygen in your blood.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be used in cases of severe carbon monoxide poisoning. It helps protect heart and brain tissue, which are particularly vulnerable to injury from carbon monoxide poisoning. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may also be recommended for pregnant women because unborn babies are more susceptible to damage from carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Carbon monoxide questions and answers. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/. Accessed Oct. 23, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- AskMayoExpert. Carbon monoxide toxicity. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 23, 2014.
- Shannon MW, et al. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. https://www.clinicalkey.com/#!/content/book/3-s2.0-B978072160693450092X. Accessed Oct. 23, 2014.
- Indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society. http://membership.uhms.org/?page=Indications. Accessed Aug. 21, 2014.
- Auerbach PS. Wilderness Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Mosby; 2012.
- Millman MP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 23, 2014.