Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
I had carbon monoxide poisoning and was hospitalized for it. Is there any effects that can linger in the blood after you get over the effects, and are released from the hospital. Are there systems or effects that can attract my body later on in life. I got the poison at
my work place, was down in a ship loading cargo and got the poising
there. Would appreciate any information you can provide me with.
Oxygen delivery in your body is carried out by red blood cells. They are
full of a protein called hemoglobin that holds onto oxygen molecules to
carry them through your body to all your cells.
Carbon monoxide happens to have a very similar chemical structure to oxygen
molecules. Hemoglobin can't tell the difference, and it's perfectly happy
to carry that around instead of oxygen and actually holds onto the carbon
monoxide a little more tightly. That means that your cells (particularly
your brain) is not getting the oxygen it needs and a person effectively
suffocates under carbon monoxide poisoning. It can cause permanent brain
damage and death.
The treatment you received in the hospital was to give you lots of oxygen at
high pressures (at least higher than the normal atmospheric content of
oxygen). So when your hemoglobin did let go of the carbon monoxide, it was
likely to see more oxygen and pick that up instead. Once you've gotten rid
of the carbon monoxide in your system, there should be no long term effects,
as long as there was no brain damage from the poisoning in the first place.
But I would certainly avoid situations where you're likely to be poisoned
again -- you might not be so lucky the second time.
New Haven, Connecticut
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Update: June 2012