A guide to carbon monoxide...

Carbon monoxide exposure one or more times in the past: How can I tell?

Carbon monoxide exposure - if you have had a higher than normal level of exposure then you have been poisoned, it is a question of how severe it is.

Blood can be tested for unsafe levels of carbon monoxide but only if it is done within a few hours after a person is removed from the source of carbon monoxide.

As soon as a person breathes fresh air the level of carbon monoxide in the blood begins to decrease and slowly returns to normal levels. However, a person may still experience effects. Some people are at higher risk of effects than others.

To our knowledge, there are no medical tests that can directly confirm that a person has been exposed-to and poisoned-by carbon monoxide at some point in the past. Please contact us if you are aware of a definitive test.

However, the likelihood of previous carbon monoxide exposure and therefore poisoning can be indirectly investigated several ways.

If you suspect you may have had carbon monoxide exposure one time in the past:

If you suspect you may have had carbon monoxide exposure multiple times in the past:

Your comments about carbon monoxide poisoning...

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Questions? Want to share your opinion? Do it here...
hmmm, can I get poisoned by???
Heather
I know it says gas heaters and stoves can cause this but what if you have an oil heat system in your house? Can a leak cause carbon monoxide poisoning? And can you get it if you have a fireplace/chimney in your house, even if it hasn't been used in a really long time?

CO Tests
Gloria
My block of flats has faulty flues which we have lived with for 3 years. One person was hospitalised for a few hours and one other went to A@E where traces were found.
Is it too late for the rest of us to be tested.?

Carrie Weatherhead from Prescott Arizona
I have been exposed to carbon monoxide over an extended period of time. The level in the vehicle I drive was 87ppm after a one minute test with the doors closed and the windows rolled up. Most of the time I drive with one of the doors open. I am hoping that if I do have any problems they will be minor, I explained to my doctor in March 2012 that I didn't feel as "sharp" as I used to be, and she made light of the question so I let it go. I was wondering if there are any tests that will show if my brain has been damaged?Thank you

Dosed
Aaron F.
I was exposed to 56PPM for less than 5 minutes during a CO call on out fire department about 3 years back, now everytime I go to any structure fire i seem to suffer the mild effects of CO poising(headache, nausia).
The last structure fire i went to i never even got went in to fight it just hung outside. Same thing, I intially thought i was suffering from dehydration but I now seem to have a sensitivity to CO in low concentrations

Any Thoughts out there?
aaronfrost@hotmail.com

Symptoms
Caroline Probyn from UK
Thinking back I went through a phase of having very strange experiences at night .... I would begin to wake from my sleep but as I did so I would hear a loud cracking sound or feel like my head was about to explode!

Then a strange weird sensation which was worse if I had been woken in the night at all by my child for example ... It would always happen early morning.. and was so unpleasant almost like I was dying ... like I was trying to get back into my body but couldn't and that my head was just about to burst!

It certainly started during the time I am most likely to have been poisoned. Has anyone else experienced anything like this ???

Pets acting strangely
Cassandra from UK
My initial CO poisoning was discovered 30 yeas ago but symptoms a few years ago were "discovered by my cat. It kept leaping about in a strange way and took to sleeping on the landing.

I thought it could be associated with blasting going on few miles away and spoke to man from the company. He said shock waves possibly traveling along rock being picked up by cats sensitive nervous system. Wow, what a revelation! My cat knew there was a danger situation before anyone else did!

"low" level poisonings?
Sandra Hiser from Livermore, CA
I suppose anything that doesn't knock you out or kill you is considered low level poisoning?

I was exposed for two years, resulting in many non-specific symptoms. Now, I'm not sure how severe the damage is and how to approach it.

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