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First Aid & Emergencies

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When To Call a Doctor

Call911or other emergency services immediately if:

  • You have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as a headache, nausea, or dizziness, and carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected.
  • A person has symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and appears to be very confused or disoriented or complains of chest pain. Leave the area of exposure before calling.
  • A person is found unconscious after exposure to carbon monoxide. Take him or her out of the house, building, vehicle, or area where the gas is present.

Call your doctor if:

Recommended Related to First Aid

Understanding Dizziness -- Treatment

Because dizziness can involve so many parts of the body -- the ears, brain, or heart, to name a few -- your doctor will probably take a careful history of your symptoms, do a brief exam, and make a proper referral to a specialist if necessary.  Make sure you describe the sensation you feel thoroughly, since dizziness can be many things to many people.

Read the Understanding Dizziness -- Treatment article > >

  • You have any changes in vision, coordination, or behavior in the weeks after treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning.

What to do if your carbon monoxide detector sounds the alarm

Tell everyone in the house or building to get out. Call the fire department or your local utility company from a nearby phone.

The fire department or utility company can check the carbon monoxide levels in the house or building and identify any problem. If high levels of carbon monoxide are found in the building, call and discuss the situation with your doctor.

Watchful Waiting

Watchful waiting is not appropriate if carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected. Call 911 or your doctor.

Who To See

The following health professionals can evaluate symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Emergency medical technician (EMT) who responds to 911 calls
  • Emergency medicine specialist
  • Critical care specialist
  • Hyperbaric-trained physician
  • Family medicine doctor
  • Internist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician assistant

The following health professionals can evaluate delayed or long-term symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Neurologist
  • Psychologist

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 18, 2008
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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