What is the symbol for carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning from hookah smoking is more common

06.12.2017

Improper shisha smoking is a source of danger. Because of carbon monoxide poisoning, around a hundred treatments had to be carried out in the special pressure chamber at the University Hospital Düsseldorf (UKD) this year.

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This year around 100 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning have already been treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) in the special pressure chamber of the Düsseldorf University Hospital (UKD) - around 40 of them are due to smoking hookahs. During the therapy, 100 percent oxygen is administered with the help of positive pressure in order to displace the carbon monoxide from the red blood pigment and from vital organ tissues (e.g. the brain).

Carbon monoxide (chemical symbol: CO) is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that is produced when carbon-containing substances are not completely burned and the supply of oxygen is inadequate. Carbon monoxide is highly toxic, displaces the oxygen from the hemoglobin transport molecule
An iron-containing transport protein to which 4 molecular oxygen particles (O2) can bind.
 
and thus ensures that oxygen is no longer transported in the blood, which in the worst case can lead to asphyxiation. "Carbon monoxide poisoning is life-threatening," explains Dr. Sven Dreyer, senior pressure chamber doctor at the university clinic. "More caution and care can save lives."

Due to several current cases, the UKD advises increased vigilance and caution: Defective gas boilers or a charcoal grill in the apartment pose a risk. The university clinic also notes a significant increase in poisoning from smoking hookahs.

Carbon monoxide is the cause of much of the fatal poisoning worldwide. Yet it is still often underestimated. Since the breath poison causes almost no irritation, it is hardly noticed at first: those affected do not see the early signs of poisoning - tiredness, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, headaches and flu-like symptoms - as a result of the burn. High doses of carbon monoxide are highly toxic and cause loss of consciousness and suffocation after just a few minutes of inhalation.

Risk points include gas boilers that burn incompletely - for example because the burner is sooty. A warning sign for CO is the color of the flame: it is no longer blue but yellow. Prof. Dr. Joachim Windolf, Director of the Clinic for Hand and Trauma Surgery at the UKD, also warns against setting up a charcoal grill or an open fire in closed rooms: "When carbon, namely charcoal, is burned, the gas is produced and cannot be extracted in closed rooms" , explains the head of Düsseldorf Accident Medicine, who also looks after the Düsseldorf pressure chamber. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) assumes through tests from 2013 that a toxic gas concentration (3,000 ppm / parts per million) is present in a garage or living room after just two hours of burning 800 grams of charcoal can lead to unconsciousness and death.

Last but not least, a source of danger is the popular shisha smoking, as carbon monoxide is also produced here when the water pipe charcoal is burned. Especially when smoking quickly without taking off the pipe in closed rooms without sufficient air supply, not enough oxygen can get into the organism. Subsequent drowsiness, nausea and loss of consciousness are due to the carbon monoxide, but not to the strength of the tobacco.

In the event of suspicion, you should open all windows immediately, leave the room immediately and notify the fire brigade. Just a few breaths are enough for CO poisoning. Experts therefore always recommend buying carbon monoxide alarms as a preventive measure. The small devices are attached to the wall and are available in every hardware store. Important: Smoke detectors, which have been mandatory in North Rhine-Westphalia since the beginning of the year, do not replace carbon monoxide detectors, as they do not detect the gas.

Source: University Hospital Düsseldorf

 

 

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