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How Does Carbon Monoxide Kill?


Question: How Does Carbon Monoxide Kill?
Carbon monoxide is a real threat to life as we know it. It can disable and even kill you in the comfort of your home. A reader wants to know how it kills and how this keeps happening with the invention of the carbon monoxide detector. It is known as the silent killer and here is how it does just that!

How Does Carbon Monoxide Kill?

Carbon monoxide asphyxiates or basically suffocates people by depriving a person's body of precious oxygen. Without oxygen, it is impossible for a human or pet to survive. This is known as tissue hypoxia.

There is a series of events that happen as the body takes in oxygen and disperses it throughout the body. Oxygen is inhaled into the lungs and transported throughout the body via the red blood cells. It is transported to body tissue and muscles. The unfortunate thing is that red blood cells are attracted to carbon monoxide and absorb it more readily than oxygen. Once in the bloodstream, carbon monoxide reduces the oxygen supply for vital body functions.

Those at most risk for carbon monoxide poisoning include infants and children. The young show signs far earlier than adults. That's why children should never be left alone in a running vehicle with the engine running, besides other obvious reasons. Never, never drive a vehicle with a leaky exhaust or holes in the firewall or floorboards of a vehicle, where exhaust fumes can enter the vehicle. Having said that, simply leaving a window cracked in an enclosed garage can cause the same result. Carbon monoxide kills and it does it silently...The Silent killer!

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