A guide to carbon monoxide...

Carbon monoxide poisoning and multi-sensory sensitivity

After carbon monoxide poisoning a survivor may find they are more sensitive or extra sensitive to a range of chemicals and other "sensory forces".

Carbon monoxide poisoning can trigger chemical sensitivities but more often triggers sensitivities to a wider range of stimulus. This is sometimes referred to as multi-sensory sensitivity.

This affects an unknown percentage of survivors but is very real to those that experience it. It can take [a long] time for a survivor to realize that at least some of their ongoing "symptoms" are connected to sensory stimulus.

This type of sensitivity seems to be unique to carbon monoxide poisoning survivors. It is characterized by heightened sensitivity to chemicals as well as other stimuli such as light, sound, touch, temperature fluctuations, changes in barometric pressure, and even electromagnetic fields and electrostatic charges (in some cases even motion sickness).

People can develop Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) from exposure to other toxins such as pesticides or moulds. They may also be sensitive to other sensory stimuli such as light and sound however what distinguishes multi-sensory sensitivity caused by carbon monoxide poisoning is sensitivity to almost all types of sensory stimuli.

Many people are aware that carbon monoxide gas is invisible, odorless, tasteless, dangerous and that it can kill at high levels of exposure. However, carbon monoxide is also essential for life. Mammals constantly produce carbon monoxide within their bodies.

Carbon monoxide is produced in the normal breakdown of heme proteins (such as hemoglobin in red blood cells, myoglobin in muscle, cytochromes throughout the body) by an enzyme called heme oxygenase (HO).

Normal carbon monoxide production within the body increases 10 to 100 times in response to stress of any kind, whether it be physical, biological, chemical, or mental.

Carbon monoxide is also produced within the body by the breakdown of certain inhaled and ingested chemicals such as methylene chloride (dichloromethane) which is a common solvent, paint stripper, degreaser, propellant used in spray cans, and a by product of many industrial/manufacturing processes.

A survivor may become hypersensitive to very low levels of carbon monoxide exposure after poisoning. They may become so sensitive that they overreact to even the relatively low levels produced by their body in response to stress of any kind.

A percentage of carbon monoxide produced within the body binds to hemoglobin (red blood cells), is transported to the lungs, and is then exhaled. However, a larger percentage of carbon monoxide produced in the body binds to other proteins and is involved in many types of chemical reactions within the body.

Carbon monoxide is very bioactive and is produced and used by the body for the normal breakdown of heme proteins. Among its functions, it modulates the nerve action firing potential of sensory nerves. It is a gaseous neurotransmitter in the regulation of learning, memory, heart rate, respiration and vasodilation.

Normal carbon monoxide production within the body controls sensory sensitization and adaptation to odors, lights, sounds and all other sensory stimuli.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can affect normal healthy carbon monoxide production within the body.

Your comments about carbon monoxide poisoning...

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being poisoned for years
CO Worker EMPLOYED from IN
after being sickly for over 2 years, I have just recently realized I think working in an environment of running cars. Has been the cause, the main support of our community welfare so no doctor would ever say it was my workplace. So I deal with the long term effects, and stay employed with benefits. It is just what you have to do to support your family

Questions about CO
HJ from Utah
I have a gas fireplace which I recently turned on, Today I woke up with all the symptoms of CO poisoning, Headache, dizziness, Nausea, not coordinated but my CO detector does not detect anything. Question can the CO levels be so low that they are not detectable but still cause effects over a period of days???

Migraines
Sarah from Poland
I experienced carbon monoxide poisoning at age 13yo. I passed out and was taken to the ED. I recovered and as far as I know I didn't suffer any injuries. However sometime afterwards I develop migraines which even now, 17 years later significantly decrease the quality of my life.

co2 sickness
Brian Davis from Washington State
I started having headaches that increased in intensity some 6 months or more ago the regularity increased from weekly to permanant, We(my dr. and I) thaught they were migranes but after many differnt med test nothing worked, come to find out 1 week ago i had a c02 leak at work no telling how long its been that way but my being in the area affected 20 minutes to 40 minutes 2 a week and longer 1 a month for inventory. Finally fixed the leak a week ago, and my hopes are relief in the future. Head aches just dont go away.

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