©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Carbon Dioxide Poisoning

What is Carbon Dioxide Poisoning?

  • Inadequate ventilation when scuba diving results in carbon dioxide build-up.
  • Inadequate breathing, a tight wetsuit, overexertion, regulator malfunction, deep diving, and contamination of the air supply with exhaled gases often cause a carbon dioxide buildup.
  • Carbon dioxide levels in the blood can increase, causing shortness of breath and sedation, resulting in carbon dioxide toxicity.

Carbon Dioxide Poisoning Symptoms

Carbon Dioxide Poisoning Treatment

Treat people with carbon dioxide toxicity as follows:

  • Administer fresh air or oxygen.
  • Allow the person to rest.
  • Call 911 if the person develops severe symptoms or is unresponsive.

When to Seek Medical Care for Carbon Dioxide Poisoning

Medical assistance is generally not required for people with carbon dioxide toxicity, except in severe cases as defined above.

For More Information on CO2 Poisoning

Oracle ThinkQuest, Diving: Gases and Moisture

Diving Medicine Online, CO2 Retention


Emotional trauma is best described as a psychological response to a deeply distressing or life-threatening experience. See Answer

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically reviewed by a Board Certified Family Practice Physician


"Mechanisms, causes, and effects of hypercapnia"