Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that is found in combustion fumes. Inhaling too much carbon monoxide results in poisoning, which can be fatal.
Carbon Monoxide Binding to Hemoglobin
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Carbon monoxide is easily absorbed through the lungs. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood to the entire body. Carbon monoxide binds tightly with hemoglobin and takes the place of the oxygen. Tissue then becomes starved for oxygen. Brain tissue is very much at risk.
Faulty or improperly vented equipment causes a build up of carbon monoxide in semi- or enclosed spaces. Exposure can be the result of:
- Motor vehicle engines that are left running inside an enclosed garage
- Any heating and cooking devices that burn coal, wood, or gas
- Barbecue grills, gas grills, or camp stoves used inside your home, garage, or basement
- Gas oven ranges used to heat your home when the power goes out
- Power generators used inside your home, garage, or basement
Last reviewedDecember 2014by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.