Respiratory Question #45
A client appears at the emergency department with complaints of headache, confusion, dizziness and weakness. Five minutes later the client exhibits confusion, visual changes, and chest pain. Carbon monoxide poisoning is confirmed and the nurse immediately does which action?
- Places 100% oxygen via mask on the client.
- Prepares a tracheotomy kit.
- Prepares for gastric lavage.
- Asks the family if a suicide note was found.
The most important action for carbon monoxide poisoning is to apply 100% oxygen to reduce the half-life of carboxyhemoglobin. It is not necessary to prepare a tracheotomy kit for the next action, or gastric lavage since that is used for poisons. It is inappropriate to ask about suicide notes as carbon monoxide poisoning may occur with fuel-buringing appliances that are not installed properly or used properly, heating systems, and when chimneys become blocked in older buildings causing trapped fumes. New homes may also trap carbon monoxide since they are so well insulated and sealed.