Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can become deadly in a matter of minutes. If you suspect CO poisoning, leave your home or building immediately and call 911 or go to the emergency room. If treated quickly, the effects of CO poisoning can be reversed.
The symptoms of exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can be similar to those of food poisoning and flu. But unlike flu, carbon monoxide poisoning doesn't cause a high temperature (fever). The symptoms can gradually get worse with long periods of exposure to carbon monoxide, leading to a delay in diagnosis.
This silent killer can kill in minutes. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. Anyone can be affected.
Outlook (Prognosis) Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause death. For those who survive, recovery is slow. How well a person does depends on the amount and length of exposure to the carbon monoxide.
Self Checks/At-Home Testing
There isn't a self-diagnosis option for carbon monoxide poisoning, but anyone with confusion or a loss of consciousness should have 911 called for them.
Most people with a mild exposure to carbon monoxide experience headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Unfortunately, the symptoms are easily overlooked because they are often flu-like. Medium exposure can cause you to experience a throbbing headache, drowsiness, disorientation, and an accelerated heart rate.
Signs of a carbon monoxide leak in your house or home
Stale, stuffy, or smelly air, like the smell of something burning or overheating. Soot, smoke, fumes, or back-draft in the house from a chimney, fireplace, or other fuel burning equipment. The lack of an upward draft in chimney flue. Fallen soot in fireplaces.
Carbon monoxide is in fumes (smoke) from: Car and truck engines. Small gasoline engines. Fuel-burning space heaters (not electric).
Survivors of severe, acute CO poisoning can develop long-term neurologic sequelae (e.g., impairments in memory, concentration, and speech, as well as depression and parkinsonism). These sequelae may arise immediately after CO poisoning or may be delayed (occurring 2–21 days after CO poisoning).
The Carbon Monoxide Detection Systems Checklist mobile app inspects Carbon Monoxide Detection Systems using an iPad, iPhone, Android device, or a Windows desktop.
No, carbon monoxide has no smell. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that's a byproduct of combustion. As a homeowner, this means it can leak from your gas furnace, stove, dryer, and water heater as well as wood stove/fireplace.
Carbon monoxide is a gas that has no odor, color or taste. You wouldn't be able to see or smell it, but it can be very dangerous to your health and even fatal.
A carbon monoxide detector is a must for any home and just as important as a smoke detector. CO detectors should be placed near all bedrooms; they're the only way you will know if carbon monoxide is affecting the air quality in your home, and can help prevent serious illness and even death.
Carbon Monoxide Sources in the Home
Water heaters. Furnaces or boilers. Fireplaces, both gas and wood burning. Gas stoves and ovens.
One skill sometimes credited to dogs is the ability to sense or detect carbon monoxide. Unfortunately, even a dog's incredible nose can't detect carbon monoxide, though pets can still play an important role in the early detection of poisonous gas.
There's a myth that carbon monoxide alarms should be installed lower on the wall because carbon monoxide is heavier than air. In fact, carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and diffuses evenly throughout the room.
Opening a window will slow carbon monoxide poisoning, but it likely won't stop it. There simply isn't enough airflow through most windows to get rid of the poisonous gas, and it could take between four and eight hours for the CO to dissipate entirely.
HIGHLIGHTS. Apple has been granted a patent to integrate gas sensors on its devices. The patent talks about gas sensors being integrated on iPhones and Apple Watches. These sensors will be able to detect toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and methane.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, seizures, chest pain, disorientation, and loss of consciousness. CO poisoning needs to be treated right away by getting outside to fresh air and calling 911.
Poisoning is considered to have occurred at carboxyhaemoglobin levels of over 10%, and severe poisoning is associated with levels over 20-25%, plus symptoms of severe cerebral or cardiac ischaemia. However, people living in areas of pollution may have levels of 5%, and heavy smokers can tolerate levels up to 15%.
A high concentration can displace oxygen in the air. If less oxygen is available to breathe, symptoms such as rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, clumsiness, emotional upsets and fatigue can result. As less oxygen becomes available, nausea and vomiting, collapse, convulsions, coma and death can occur.
CO poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream. Your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. leading to serious tissue damage. CO2 poisoning occurs when the lungs cannot take in enough oxygen.