Jason Channell wrote this post about carbon monoxide poisoning. A timely reminder for this time of year, with furnaces running and homes closed up more. We all should invest in at least 1 CO monitor.
The Long-term Effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Why is carbon monoxide, also known as CO, such a potentially deadly gas? Why can it have devastating short-term and long-term effects upon your life? Assuming, of course, that it doesn’t kill you.
One reason is that CO is the silent killer. We can't taste CO, smell CO, or see CO. Unless you have a special instrument to detect the gas, you won't know there is a problem -- unless you are alert to the symptoms of CO poisoning.
Now For The Really Bad News
A person may suffer short-term effects, long-term effects, or even permanent damage depending on the levels of carbon monoxide that breathed in to the body.
Depending upon the levels of CO breathed in, this gas could prove fatal gradually or within minutes.
This Is Your Brain With CO Poisoning... Any Questions?
CO displaces the levels of oxygen within the blood. This results in the death of cells and damage to major organs, which are subsequently starved of oxygen, called anoxia.
Anoxia can lead to a range of short-term and long-term symptoms, depending on the levels of gas breathed in and the duration over which a person is exposed to carbon monoxide.
As you might suspect, the non-fatal long-term effects of CO poisoning can be extremely serious to the brain:
- brain function
Scientists believe that the hippocampus (the part of the brain that deals with new memories) is particularly susceptible to long-term damage from CO poisoning.
Of course, elevated CO exposure can also cause permanent damage to other major organs within the body, like as the heart.
The effects of CO poisoning over the long-term may be subtle or may be very severe, depending on the extent of poisoning:
Up to forty percent of those poisoned can suffer problems that range from amnesia, headaches and memory loss to personality and behavioural changes, loss of muscle and bladder control and impairment of co-ordination and vision.
Many of these long-term effects are not immediate and may present themselves several weeks after exposure.
The majority of people that suffer long-term effects from CO poisoning do recover in time, but there are those that will suffer permanent damage; particularly in the case of brain and organ damage, the damage is permanent.
Researchers are still discovering some of the long-term effects of low level exposure. We are still learning what sort of effect this hazardous gas may have upon our lives.
What You Can Do:
The first step is to get a CO Monitor. It may be the cheapest life insurance you'll ever purchase.
Step two: education. Understand the most common sources of CO. Understand the symptoms of exposure. And learn what to do when someone is exposed.
If you notices the symptoms of CO exposure, you will know how to react. If someone faces severe CO poisoning, they will lose their ability to make a decision. You may be the person to save their life.
By educating yourself and being vigilant, you can dramatically reduce the risks of carbon monoxide both in your home and in the workplace.
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