Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/First aid/Carbon monoxide

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Carbon monoxide is present in exhaust gases of internal combustion engines as well as in sewer gas, lanterns, charcoal grills, and in manufactured gas used for heating and cooking. It gives no warning of its presence since it is completely odorless and tasteless. The victim may lose consciousness and suffer respiratory distress with no warning other than slight dizziness, weakness, and headache. The lips and skin of a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning are characteristically cherry red. Death may occur within a few minutes.

The first stage of treatment for an inhalation poisoning is to remove the victim from the toxic atmosphere immediately. WARNING: Never try to remove a victim from the toxic environment if you do not have the proper protective mask or breathing apparatus or if you are not trained in its use. Too often, well intentioned rescuers become victims. When in doubt, call for trained personnel. If help is not immediately available, and if you know you can reach and rescue the victim, take a deep breath, hold it, enter the area, and pull the victim out. If the victim is not breathing, begin CPR. Get the victim to a hospital as soon as possible.