What is carbon monoxide poisoning?
Carbon monoxide poisoning happens when you breathe too much carbon monoxide and it begins to replace the oxygen in your blood. Without oxygen, cells throughout the body die, and the organs stop working. The main systems affected are the cardiovascular system and nervous system. We all know that carbon monoxide (CO) can be fatal. Hundreds of people, young and old, die of fumes from this poison every year. The question is how to guard against this so-called "silent killer"?
Poisoning by carbon monoxide is difficult to diagnose. Symptoms are similar to illnesses such as influenza, the onset of a cold or seasickness:
- dizziness or fainting
- impaired judgment, confusion
- shortness of breath
- changes to seeing and hearing capacities
When you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately taking the following steps can save lives:
- Move the person immediately to fresh air in an open area. Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the boat;
- Go to the hospital. If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, it can be diagnosed by taking a blood sample;
- Call 911 or another local emergency number for immediate medical attention;
- Do not reboard the boat until you receive an expert opinion (ex: firefighters).