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Hookah Smoking Carries a Poisoning Risk

By Robert Preidt

WEDNESDAY, March 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Many people think hookah smoking is less harmful than cigarettes, but they might not realize that hookahs can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, a medical expert warns.

The devices -- also called water pipes -- are heated by burning charcoal. That releases carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas.

About 100 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by hookahs have been reported in the United States and other countries, according to Dr. Diane Calello. She's medical director of the Poison Control Center at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School's department of emergency medicine.

The risk for carbon monoxide poisoning from hookahs depends on the size of the space where they're used, the number of people smoking and the amount of ventilation, Calello explained.

Hookahs should only be used in large, well-ventilated areas, she said. If you use a hookah at home, be sure your home has carbon monoxide detectors. If you go to a hookah bar, ask if it has carbon monoxide detectors, Calello advised.

Common symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, sleepiness, fatigue, confusion and irritability. Higher carbon monoxide levels can cause nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, vision and coordination problems, brain damage and death.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can easily be confused with symptoms of viral illnesses, like the common cold or the flu, Calello noted.

Carbon monoxide poisoning should be considered a medical emergency. Get immediate help if you suspect someone was exposed to carbon monoxide. If the person is unconscious, not breathing, hard to wake up or seizing, call 911. Otherwise, contact the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on carbon monoxide poisoning.

SOURCE: Rutgers University, news release, March 5, 2018

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=731763

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Poisoning
Carbon
Carbon Monoxide
Smoking
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Risk
Emergencies
Charcoal
Brain
Confusion
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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