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By Dr. Stephen Conicello, DC, NREMT, owner Agape Institute of Functional Health Care
Did you know each year in America, CO poisoning accounts for some 50,000 emergency room visits and kills about 450 Americans by accidental exposure alone. US fire departments respond to seven non-fire CO incidents every hour [NFPA, 2005].
Understanding the Risk
What is carbon monoxide?
CO, often called “the silent killer,” is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. It can be created when fossil fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, coal, natural gas, propane, methane or wood do not burn properly. CO is a highly toxic gas that has no color, no odor, and no taste.
Click the Read More button to learn how you can protect you and your family from this silent killer.
When inhaled, Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in red blood cells and blocks their capacity to carry oxygen to cells and tissues. Carbon monoxide also causes cellular damage that directly injures blood vessels and the CNS – Central Nervous System (Brain, brainstem, cerebellum spinal cord). The CNS controls ALL of our bodily functions (Heart, lungs, liver spleen pancreas, etc…). If the CNS becomes damaged by CO poisoning it, could directly affect how our organs work, and could possibly cause other conditions or disease processes in our bodies.
Where does carbon monoxide come from?
CO poisoning can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances – space heaters, portable generators, Using a charcoal grill indoors, water heaters, clothes dryers or cars left running in garages.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
• At moderate levels, you or your family can experience:
Severe headaches, dizziness, mental confusion, nausea, fainting, “cherry reddening” of the skin. You can even die if these levels persist for a long time.
• Low levels symptoms may include :
Shortness of breath, mild nausea, mild headaches, and may have longer term effects on your health.
Since many of these symptoms are similar to those of the flu, food poisoning, or other illnesses, you may not think that CO poisoning could be the possible cause.
What Actions Should You Take?
If you experience symptoms that you think could be from CO poisoning:
• Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off combustion appliances and leave the house.
• Go to an emergency room and tell the physician you suspect CO poisoning. If CO poisoning has occurred, it can often be diagnosed by a blood test done soon after exposure. High dose oxygen is a must to help you body to heal.
• Long term exposure to CO poisoning:
This might not be found by blood tests at this point and must be clinically observed by a trained doctor to listen to your detailed account of your symptoms, conditions or disease process that you are experiencing. Long-term exposure to CO can have a detrimental affect to your health. According to medical research, preformed at The UCLA Gonda Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine, Dr. Susan Sprau, MD (medical director) “Carbon monoxide poisoning is potentially fatal, but people who survive the experience can also have long-term brain damage, which may not become apparent right away.
The only way to stop the symptoms of CO poisoning is to hyper-oxygenate the tissues “. The Hyper-oxygenation or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) allows the body to take in oxygen under pressure to help abate the cellular damage and help the body to heal more effectively. For more than 50 years emergency physicians have been increasing their use of hyperbaric oxygen to treat acute carbon monoxide poisoning, yet access to emergency-ready hyperbaric chambers remains a public health crisis in the US today.
Since 2008 the UHMS (Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society) has participated in the CDC national surveillance system for carbon monoxide poisoning. Findings from nearly 2,000 cases at 87 hyperbaric facilities in 39 states are just now emerging for careful analysis to support the routine use of hyperbaric oxygen for acute CO poisoning (Cochrane Collaboration, 2011)
Our treatment protocols at Agape Institute of Functional Healthcare, vary and depends on each patient’s level of CO poisoning and symptoms. In our center we have advanced technologies to access the need for treatment. Our Doctors are trained in Functional Internal Healthcare to access the need for HBOT treatment. If you believe you have this problem call our office right away. Remember the faster we can assess the condition and treat it the better the outcome.
Act now and call our office for an appointment:
AGAPE Institute of Functional Health Care
(A division of Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Neurology Center)
Dr. Stephen Conicello DC, NREMT-Paramedic, Firefighter-Advanced Fire Science, Pre-Hospital Emergency provider since 1992.