Firefighters have one of the toughest and most under appreciated jobs in the world. They risk their lives to save others, and willingly put themselves at risk of harm, illness and injury. Firefighters are commonly exposed to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Hyberbaric Oxygen Therapy has been proven to be extremely effective in fighting Carbon Monoxide poisioning, and in this blog we’ll go into more detail on how it can help.
What is Carbon Monoxide
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless and odorless gas, produced by the incomplete combustion of carbonaceous materials. Carbon Monoxide is highly toxic and, due to its lack of colour, odour or taste, among the most dangerous gasses humans can be exposed to, since there is no warning that you are being exposed to it.
When Carbon Monoxide is inhaled, the gas binds to the haemoglobin in red blood cells, blocking their capacity to bind with oxygen and carry it to cells and tissues. CO has also been known to damage cells directly, as well as blood vessels and even the central nervous system.
Carbon Monoxide and Firefighters
Carbon Monoxide is released most commonly in burning buildings, meaning that firefighters are exposed to this dangerous gas more than anyone else. While firefighters do use gas masks to limit their exposure to harmful fumes and gasses, Carbon Monoxide’s invisible and untraceable nature means that it can still linger in a burning building long after it has been otherwise deemed safe to remove any gas masks. It can also permeate the surrounding area of the burning building.
Carbon Monoxide can be fatal if inhaled even in small amounts. CO can cause severe neurological effects which may actually not present themselves until days or weeks after the initial inhalation, making it all the more dangerous as treatment can then be very difficult. CO can also cause chronic and persistent headaches, dizziness and nausea.
Firefighter masks help prevent most gas exposure but they can still be exposed to Carbon Monoxide in other ways.
HBOT for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The most common treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning is supplemental oxygen, thus Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can be extremely effective, even life saving. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy uses controlled pressure chambers which allow oxygen to be absorbed directly through the skin – a much faster method of getting oxygen to permeate the body than inhaling through the lungs. Check out our previous blog (Liink here) for more information on this.
HBOT’s proven ability to increase oxygen levels in blood plasma can in turn block all known cellular mechanisms of carbon monoxide toxicity. The increased oxygen absorption into the blood stream can clear the red blood cells of any attached CO gas, and even help to repair cells or tissues already damaged by carbon monoxide inhalation.
For more information on HBOT therapy, contact Zing True Health Clinic today.
Zing True Health Clinic are aligned with ESDA to offer HBOT services to Gardaí and Firefighers in Ireland.