Properties of Carbon Monoxide Carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless and colourless gas. It is toxic to most forms of life. It is about 3% lighter than air.
Production of Carbon Monoxide When carbon compounds are burned in limited oxygen CO instead of CO 2 is formed. 2C + O 2 (limited) = 2CO
Carbon Monoxide Formation This can happen in your home – especially if the gas fires or heating boilers are not serviced regularly Car exhausts produce CO – especially if the engine is not efficient (never switch on the engine just to keep warm, especially if the car is in an enclosed space). Cigarettes produce CO
Haemoglobin The haemoglobin carry oxygen in the blood. When oxygen has been delivered the blood cells are free to collect and deliver more
Carboxy-haemoglobin If CO is absorbed by the haemoglobin they become carboxy- haemoglobin. Carboxy-haemoglobin cannot release the CO molecule, and the haemoglobin that has absorbed the carbon monoxide cannot therefore carry oxygen around the body any more.
Bright pink blood! Carboxy-haemoglobin are bright pink. They reduce the oxygen that gets carried around the body and make the person suffocate. A person dying of CO poisoning is very flushed – has a bright pink complexion!
Smokers Smokers can have up to 10% carboxy-haemoglobin in their blood from cigarette CO inhalation alone – giving them a headstart on getting a lethal dose from faulty appliances. It reduces the oxygen getting to major organs - including the brain…
Smokers Carbon Monoxide is just as dangerous in cigarettes as it is an individual gas. In fact, it has basically the same effects, only over a long period of time.
Smokers When smoking, Carbon Monoxide is inhaled with tar, nicotine, and many other small bits of toxins. When it enters through the mouth, it spreads quickly throughout your body and skin. There, it combines with haemoglobin in the blood, preventing absorption of oxygen.
Smokers Lack of oxygen causes smokers to run out of breath quickly and fatigue. Carbon Monoxide also travels to the heart and lungs. It seeps into tiny pores around them, making it a major factor in lung cancer and heart disease.
Symptoms of CO poisoning Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning or other illnesses and can have a long term health risk if left unattended. Some of the symptoms are the following. –Shortness of breath –Mild nausea –Mild headaches
Symptoms of CO poisoning Moderate levels of CO exposure can cause death if the following symptoms persist for a long measure of time. –Headaches –Dizziness –Nausea –Light-headedness High levels of CO can be fatal causing death within minutes.
Treatment of CO poisoning Get the victim into fresh air immediately. If you can not get the people out of the house, then open all windows and doors. Any combustion appliances should be turned off. Take those who were subjected to carbon monoxide to a hospital emergency room as quickly as possible. A simple blood test will be able to determine if carbon monoxide poisoning has occurred. They will require a transfusion.
Detection of CO in the home Install a carbon monoxide detector in your house, and plan to check its battery every time you check your smoke detector batteries. Or use a chemical detector – take care to replace it regularly.
Safety Tips Have gas appliances checked regularly Use a detector in the home Never burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isnt vented properly Never heat your house with a gas oven. Never run a generator in an enclosed space (like your basement) or outside a window where the exhaust could blow indoors Dont warm your car up in a closed garage. If your garage is attached to your house, close the door to the house even if you open the garage door while you warm up the car. When it snows, be sure to clear any snow out of your cars exhaust pipe if the pipe is blocked exhaust gases can back up inside your car.
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