Aeromedical Factors

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Description:  Carbon monoxide (a colorless, odorless gas) replaces oxygen in the blood

Cause:           Result of exhaust fumes entering the cabin

Effects:           Headache, drowsiness, dizziness

Correction:     Open air vents and close heater



Description:  Insufficient oxygen in the bloodstream

Cause:           Lower pressure at altitude causes oxygen deficiency in body

Effects:           Headache, drowsiness, dizziness, euphoria or belligerence

                        Impairs judgment, memory, and mental ability

May affect night vision at 5,000 MSL

Usually causes problems above 12,000 15,000 MSL

                        Above 15,000 MSL causes tunnel vision, cyanosis and eventually unconsciousness

Correction:     Use supplemental oxygen or descend to a lower altitude



Description:   Breathing in an increased volume of air and disrupting the proper balance of 02 and CO2

Cause:           Usually brought on by stress, fear or anxiety

Effects:           Lightheadedness, suffocation, drowsiness, tingling of the extremities

Causes uncordination, disorientation, muscle spasms and eventually unconsciousness

Correction:     Controlled breathing (i.e. Breath slowly in a paper bag or hands)

                        Talk slows breathing


Spatial Disorientation (Vertigo)

Description:   Inner ear sends incorrect spatial information to the brain (loss of balance)

Cause:            Lack of visual cues, illusion, and distractions

Effect:             Dizziness, misleading sensations, disorientation

Correction:    Watch and rely on instruments, use outside visual cues if VMC



Cause:           Medication for illness, or illegal use

Effect:             Impaired physical and mental abilities

Correction:    DO NOT FLY unless first consulting an Aviation Medical Examiner