If the carbon monoxide concentration in the air is much higher, signs of poisoning may occur within 1-2 hours. A very high carbon monoxide concentration can even kill an exposed individual within 5 minutes.
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 best way to avoid CO poisoning is to follow safety guidelines.
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.
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. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.
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.
At sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.
At higher concentrations, CO poisoning can make you pass out and can even be fatal. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above — or suspect that there might be a carbon monoxide leak in your home — you should leave your home immediately, get fresh air and call a poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
In fresh air, it takes four to six hours for a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning to exhale about half of the inhaled carbon monoxide in their blood.
The CO alarm sounds if your sensor detects a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home—usually before you start sensing symptoms. With a low CO level (50 ppm), it may take up to eight hours for the alarm to go off. Higher carbon monoxide levels (over 150 ppm) can trigger an alarm within minutes.
If you have inhaled chemical or toxic fumes, you should get into fresh air straight away. Loosen tight clothing and open doors and windows wide. If you are with someone who has inhaled toxic fumes, seek medical attention immediately.
The best way to treat CO poisoning is to breathe in pure oxygen. This treatment increases oxygen levels in the blood and helps to remove CO from the blood. Your doctor will place an oxygen mask over your nose and mouth and ask you to inhale.
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.
The most common source of CO poisoning is unvented space heaters in the home. An unvented space heater uses combustible fuel and indoor air for the heating process. It vents the gases it makes into the room, instead of outdoors.
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.
The Best Way to Test for Carbon Monoxide
Because CO is colorless, tasteless, odorless and non-irritating, the best way to detect its presence is to use an electronic combustion testing instrument.
Get to fresh air right away. Call the toll-free Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222), which connects you to your local poison center.
There's no specific test to identify lung injuries. After checking your symptoms and vital signs, your doctor may order a chest X-ray. This will determine the amount of fluid in different parts of your lungs. Since lung injuries and heart problems often share symptoms, this test can also show if your heart is enlarged.
Experiments have shown they affect a number of organs and systems. Once dioxins enter the body, they last a long time because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue, where they are then stored in the body. Their half-life in the body is estimated to be 7 to 11 years.
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.
Most carbon monoxide detectors aren't all that sensitive.
And that's the lowest concentration that will sound the alarm! It also goes off when there's 50 PPM of CO in your home for 8 hours - the OSHA standard.
Carbon Monoxide Detection Systems Mobile App
The Carbon Monoxide Detection Systems Checklist mobile app inspects Carbon Monoxide Detection Systems using an iPad, iPhone, Android device, or a Windows desktop.
Purchase a CO testing kit at your local Lowes, Home Depot, or on Amazon.com. Use the included canister of CO to spray onto your carbon monoxide detector. Be patient. It sometimes takes up to 30 minutes from exposure to CO for the alarm to sound.