When you go on camping trips, safety always needs to come first. While fire, sharp objects, and wild animals are always a concern, the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning are overlooked. While carbon monoxide is most often associated with being expelled from cars, it can also come from campfires and your chosen camping stove. To prevent disaster from striking during a camping trip there are a few key points that everyone should remember.
Why is Carbon Monoxide So Dangerous?
For those who might not know, carbon monoxide is dangerous because it binds directly to red blood cells in the bloodstream. The red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to every cell in the body, providing them with a source of power. The problem with carbon monoxide is that this molecule binds to red blood cells more tightly than oxygen. As a result, carbon monoxide displaces oxygen from the body’s red blood cells, and the body suffocates from carbon monoxide poisoning.
What are the Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
One of the biggest dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning is that this gas is odorless. For this reason, homes come with a carbon monoxide detection system. This system is not in place when someone goes camping. Carbon monoxide poisoning can present with a few common symptoms. These include:
- If you have been exposed to carbon monoxide, your skin will turn bright red. This is because the body’s red blood cells are occupied with carbon monoxide.
- As carbon monoxide poisoning progresses, you will also develop severe headaches. Over time, these headaches are going to get worse.
- Next, carbon monoxide poisoning is going to make you feel nauseous. As the poisoning gets worse, vomiting will occur.
- Finally, at the tail end of the poisoning, you will start to develop hallucinations. Eventually, you will pass out entirely.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly and difficult to treat without emergency medical care. Therefore, when camping, this needs to be prevented at all costs.
How can Carbon Monoxide Poisoning be Prevented?
Carbon monoxide poisoning is particularly dangerous in tents because the tent is going to trap these gases inside. For this reason, never use a normal camping stove or build a campfire inside a tent. The only stoves permitted to be used inside tents are tent stoves that have special chimneys that expel gasses directly outside. However, tent stoves can still sometimes have leaks. Here is what you can do if you think there is a carbon monoxide leak inside your tent.
At the first sign of carbon monoxide, extinguish the stove and open the tent flap to let fresh air inside. Go outside and breathe deeply to reintroduce oxygen back into your bloodstream. If you feel any of the more advanced carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms, you’ll need to go to the hospital as quickly as possible.
When the tent stove’s chimney is cool, inspect it for leaks by detaching it from the stove and pouring some water down it. If any water comes out of the chimney’s connections, you’ve found a leak. If you find a leak, do not continue to use the stove with the chimney. Instead, you can build a normal campfire outside.
When it comes to camping, safety should always come first.
Staying Safe While Camping
Keeping these tips in mind will help everyone avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and stay healthy with their Winnerwell tent stove while out camping. Remember, this gas can be hard to detect, and that makes it even more deadly. Always have emergency measures on hand and, when possible, avoid using a fire or stove in a closed space that can trip carbon monoxide gas in place.