Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you or someone you're with develops signs or symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning — headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, confusion — get into fresh air immediately and call 911 or emergency medical help.

Once you're at the hospital, treatment may involve:

  • 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 some cases, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is recommended. With this therapy, you're placed in a full-body pressurized chamber. Inside the chamber, air pressure is more than twice as high as normal atmospheric pressure. 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 may also be recommended for pregnant women because unborn babies are more susceptible to damage from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Feb. 21, 2012