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Bahrain: The Silent Killer – Carbon Monoxide

A couple in a car in the garage. The air-conditioner is on. One of them dies. This is the story Bahraini blogger Dr Haitham Salman has in store for us (Ar) – plus an explanation of how it happened and precautions to avoid such tragedies.

Dr Salman, who lives in Michigan, the US, writes:

طالعتنا الصحافة قبل أيام بخبر من عدة أسطر عن موت شاب في العشرين مختنقا ونجاة الفتاة من موت محقق من التسمم باول اكسيد الكربون نتج عن وجودهما معا في سيارة في كراج مغلق والسيارة شغالة من أجل التكييف.
لم يستوقف هذا الخبر أحدا ولم يفرد له مقال واحد في الصحافه, رغم أن هذا الأمر قد حدث قبل ذلك أكثر من مرة وفي كل مرة ينتهي بوفاة ألاثنين معا. ويعقب ذلك خليط غير مسبوق من الالم والحزن والحسرة و الكتمان والفضيحة وتنتقل التفاصيل همسا وتلميحا.
A few days ago, newspapers broke the story of a young man, in his 20s, who died from suffocation and the survival of a girl from carbon monoxide poisoning in a few lines. They were both in a car in a closed garage and the car was turned on, for the air-conditioning. This article did not make anyone think as none of the columnists wrote about it in our newspapers despite the fact that such an incident had happened before more than once, with couples dying in all of them. Following such accidents, there is always a mixture of pain, sadness, despair, silence, scandals and the transfer of details between people in whispers.


Dr Salman's
solution for such tragedies is more awareness.

أرى انه من الواجب علينا جميعا التنبه لخطر التسمم بأول اكسيد الكربون وان نساهم جميعا في تثقيف شبابنا من هذا القاتل الصامت. والموضوع من الاهمية بمكان بحيث يجب الا يمر مرور الكرام. فالامر سوف يتكرر دون شك. أرى أنه يجب ان يدرج هذا الأمر ضمن امتحان السياقة مثلا.
I see that it is our duty to warn society of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and we all have to contribute to creating awareness among youth of this silent killer. This is an important issue which shouldn't be allowed to slip away. If we do so, then such incidents will recur in the future. I feel that such a topic should be included in drivers’ examinations.

As a doctor, Dr Salman shares with us information about this poisonous gas. He explains:

وما يميز التسمم بهذا الغاز, أنه تسمم مخادع يتسرب ببطء دون رائحة أو طعم أو تهيح. ويلتصق بشدة بالهيموجلبين مزيحا الاكسجين ومانعا لنقله الى الجسم باكمله, ونقص الاكسجين يؤدي الى تسارع في معدل التنفس الذي بدوره يزيد من استنشاق الغاز مسببا زيادة في التسمم ونقصا اكبر في الاكسجين. ونقص الاكسجين عن الدماغ يودي الى فقدان الوعي ومعه تفقد فرصة النجاة من الموت
What distinguishes poisoning with this gas is that it is a treacherous poison which leaks slowly, without any smell, taste or irritation. It attacks the hemoglobin and stops oxygen from going to the body. The lack of oxygen leads to an increase in breathing, which in turn increases the inhaling of this gas, thereby causing more poisoning and a greater deficit in oxygen levels. The decrease of oxygen in the brain leads to a loss of consciousness and with this you lose your chances to escape death.

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