Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Carbon Monoxide Intoxication


The only likely cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning during diving is contamination of the bottle air during filling.


Phase 1

  • Difficulty breathing (breathing increasingly accelerated).
  • Anxiety.
  • Headaches.
  • Dizziness and nausea.

Phase 2

  • Palpitations.
  • Muscle tremor.
  • Cherry-colored lips and extremities.
  • Seizures.
  • Loss of consciousness (Loss of consciousness can lead to death by drowning).


If the diver is submerged when he/she is having difficulty breathing, he/she must stop all movements and control his breathing by concentrating on the expiratory phase, which should be active and prolonged.

However, contrary to what happens in carbon dioxide poisoning, this attitude does not improve symptoms, so the diver must slowly return to the surface after warning his diving companion that he is not feeling well, so that he can accompany him.

Upon reaching the surface the diver must fill the vest, to float without making any effort. If necessary, you should not hesitate to drop the ballast belt, standing still until they collect it.

After climbing aboard the diver should remain at rest in a well ventilated place. Contrary to what happens in carbon dioxide poisoning, symptoms worsen after a short time.

In this type of intoxication it is imperative that 100% oxygen is administered with a flow of 15l/min, and the victim should be transported as soon as possible to a Health Care Unit and in more severe cases to a Hyperbaric Unit.