What Are Warning Signs of CO2 Poisoning?


Quick Answer

Carbon dioxide poisoning is rare, but symptoms can include rapid breathing, clumsiness, fatigue, convulsions and death, reports the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety. Carbon monoxide poisoning is much more common, and the symptoms can include a dull headache, dizziness, vision problems and confusion, notes Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Carbon dioxide is a normal part of the environment and is generally not toxic, according to About.com. People are generally only at risk of carbon dioxide poisoning in specific situations, such as being too close to dry ice. Carbon dioxide displaces oxygen, so there is no oxygen for the victim to breathe. People often confuse carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that can build up in a victim's bloodstream. It has no color, odor or taste, and it is a normal by-product of many household items, including gas or wood-burning stoves, furnaces, car engines, and fireplaces, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a carbon monoxide detector, which sounds an alarm when it detects dangerous concentrations of the gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are often subtle and easily mistaken for other conditions, such as the flu. The chemical can easily kill an intoxicated or sleeping person without noticeable symptoms.

People who suspect that they or someone nearby may be experiencing carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide poisoning should immediately seek fresh air or bottled oxygen and call for medical help, according to the CDC and CCOHS.

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