Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Poisoning

Reviewed on 3/30/2021

What Is Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Poisoning?

Carbon Dioxide usage
Inadequate ventilation when scuba diving results in carbon dioxide build-up and poison.

  • 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 (CO2) Symptoms

Common symptoms of carbon dioxide poisoning include:

Severe cases of carbon dioxide toxicity progress to

Carbon Dioxide Poisoning (CO2) 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 (CO2) 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


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Reviewed on 3/30/2021
Medically reviewed by a Board Certified Family Practice Physician


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