A guide to carbon monoxide...

Carbon monoxide poisoning recovery
Treatment for ongoing symptoms and effects

Recovery from carbon monoxide poisoning can be a long road.

A percentage of carbon monoxide poisoning survivors:

  • fully recover and don't experience additional symptoms or after effects

  • think they are fine but will face symptoms, health issues, or life impact that they do not recognize (or are ever told) as being related to cellular damage from poisoning

  • will experience a small number of after effects and seem to heal [slowly] over time

  • will experience a wide range of problem and suffer with little sign of relief

The percentage in each group is unknown as carbon monoxide statistics are not accurate. There is no way to reliably predict what will happen after poisoning. Over time, symptoms and health problems may surface in several ways.

It has long been thought that if a survivor continues to have health problem then the damage is [likely] permanent and therefore so is the likelihood of ongoing long term effects.

"Permanent damage" and "recovery" are contradicting viewpoints. They do not fit together. This thinking has lead to a behind-the-scenes view that because damage is [likely] permanent, not much can be done to make it "unpermanent".

An extension of this thinking has been that because the likelihood of recovery is poor, a survivor should to learn to accept their ongoing symptoms and after effects. Just make the best of a bad situation and "learn to live with it".

The belief that "...there are no proven treatment options..." and "...not much can be done..." and "...we don't really know why you are having these symptoms..." and "we don't now much about recovery" understandably results in a large percentage of survivors becoming frustrated with [and often abandoning] their care.

In reality, health professionals have a limited knowledge about the after effects of poisoning and how to manage or treat them. For some survivors this can mean a long slow road to recovery.

Out of desperation many survivors turn to alternative forms of treatment. The problem is, they often bump into a different version of the same problem. They encounter alternate health practitioners with a limited knowledge on how to deal with the ongoing symptoms and effects caused by poisoning.

However, there are countless survivors that have refused to "just live with it". They have persevered and over time have come to understand their symptoms, how to manage them, and reduce the effects. They have learned what to do to [substantially] recover. Unfortunately for some it has taken years and at a high price.

However, there are things that can be done to help manage the symptoms and ongoing effects as well as create a stronger healing environment within the body that helps support recovery.

Your comments about carbon monoxide poisoning...

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Questions? Want to share your opinion? Do it here...
Thomas Helf from York Pa
For 2 to 3 weeks slept in house with wasnt a sewer smell.The township had reicently repaved the road which flooded front yard thought it froze sewer pipe.Saw no leakage thru foundation walls.Took off toilet cleaned and relaced wax ring still smelled.Called original plumber he checked all trap water levels etc. He stated there should be no smell.By the way same plumber that installed my gas pipes.I would defently think a plumber could tell the differance.Shortly after my pet bird died.Started bumping into walls fogetting things like letting hard bioled eggs on will at work for 5 to 6 hrs.Eventually couldnt sleep in house anymore.Called homeowners insurance who put me in hotel and wanted sewer pipe vidioed.Let new plumbers in and said do you smell it his response was its a gas smell.Then it hit me I could have died like my bird. No wander my balance was off.Was writting all my returned checks 2 months postdated.New plumbers told me to call gas company now they came write away as he was taking off meter to shut gas off he pulled the bad pipe easily off my house and said I see the problem faulty workmanship.Had new plumbers fix the pipe and unvented fireplace.He only check for any leaks using soapwater spray unlike sniffer used by gas company.Guess what checked out of hotel for home sweet home. Walked in more gas due to origonal plumber using a compresson instead of a flang fittng strike two.New plumber fixed that and this time still without a sniffer strike three so far so good.Offered original family freind to come see problems and compensate my out of pocket exspenses and I become a pain.I Guess lawer is next.Gas company needs to make additive in gas to smell like lemons strawberrys or something Thank You Thomas Helf 17173242330 By the way my doctor wouldnt even take the time to discuss my blood test levels ekgs ect.Maybe because origonal plumber and myself are his clients

Thomas Helf from York Pa
I had a gas leak due to a family freind slicing plastic wall sleeve coming into house from meter. Colombia gas man while shutting done meter simply pulled pipe out of the wall.For 2 to 3 weeks prior I thougt the smell was septic due to the additive in gas that smells like rotten eggs. Gas companys have to change that smell. Make it. smell like strawberrys lemons or something.Called original plumber and checked all traps drains etc. He stated he didnt know why it stunck. Mind you this is the same plumber that installed my gas pipes, should he have noticed the differance between these smell I think so.My pet bird upstairs died one day. I started getting dizzy bumping into wall wrote wrong month dates on checks etc.Could not sleep in my house any more .Called my home owners insurance company.They put me into a hotel.Because the township repaved the road out front I lost the hand tamped burm to keep out yard water.The came all the bad snow freeze weather. I thought my 90 year old sewer pipe broke but still had no sighs of seepage inside house.Pulled cleaned wax ringed tiolet still smelt like guess rotten shit.Homeowners representatives said to have sewer vidioed.When new plumbers came in my door I said do you smell his response was it doesnt smell like sewer THATS GAS then every thing made sense to me even thou my senses where shot.The vidio proved the pipe was excellent.Doctor didnt want to talk about or expain anything on ekg blood tests etc.So happens old plumber and I share same doctor go figure.After alot of internet research I found out gas poisoning will fade but I know Im still healthwise and mentally scared.Hope nobody goes thru the out of pocket expenses I may have to seek action from attny.Call repeatly apparently orignal plumber considers me a pain. Offered for him to stop at my house to discuss the matter if thats not fair I dont know what is.Please change the smell of GAS ADDITIVES.Sincerly Thomas Helf York Pa 17173242330

massage therapist
Libby from Florida
I have a client who has experienced carbon monoxide poisioning. I have been trying to find information as far as hands on work to help her. Can anyone suggest info? Thank you.

Put Pressure on Gas Companies To Provide Information
N Renter
I was subject to gas poisoning in rental apartments over a period of 3 years up and am still recovering. I am glad to have found this site, and I hope it can be a center for some activism, since the amount of suffering people are enduring is ridiculous. There seems to be a lot more studies in the UK and Europe and nothing in the U.S.

I had low-level gas leaks from a wall furnace, an old gas meter, and from an old pipe to an oven in three successive apartments. These were too low to smell, too low for a carbon monoxide detector to detect (does a CO detector detect gas, anyway?), but enough to cause me chronic chest pains, headaches, dizziness, and weakness. I saw allergists, Chinese medicine practitioners, a cardiologist, etc., and they all thought I was suffering from stress. I think there also was a hormonal effect, as I often felt I had to eat to make the chest pain go away. One time, I spent a whole week in bed at a relative\'s, due to weakness. I knew there was something wrong with the first apartment, but I just didn\'t know what.

Only a smart gas technician who checked the needle on the gas meter for movement when others couldn\'t find leaks with conventional devices was able to determine the leak on my wall furnace. Thereafter, I was alert to other apartments and able to diagnose the source faster. Another technician could not find a gas leak with his hand-held detector, but he found bubbles with soapy water sprayed onto the pipe to my stove.

After each instance, the gas company people offered zero advice on getting treatment for the gas poisoning. They should at least have referred me to a place to get oxygen treatment for the first day, but all they did was put a warning tag on the appliance and left.

This is their business! They should know about the effects of gas poisoning! Can we put pressure on gas companies to inform 1) their customers what to do after getting gas or CO poisoning; 2) medical schools to train their general practitioner students to be alert to the effects of gas poisoning; 3) doctors to advise patients to try shutting off the gas in their residence for unexplained weakness and other symptoms.

How many people suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, weakness, chest pains, and then other subsequent ailments all because of something easy to solve like gas poisoning??

Anyone want to join in a letter campaign?

Kids and carbon monoxide
Diana from CT
So I have 3 kids ans the smallest being asthmatic. We boughta house and the first yr I thought I smell gas when We turned on heat. The carbon monoxide detectors did not go off. This past year I decided to call the gas company to come and turn it on. Their equipment did bip for 2 seconds. But he explained that it may be because it was the first day we turned it on. After an hour he left and everyhing seem fine. This winter we had bad flu season. My 3 kids and my husband got it 2x. I didnt so I assume it was just the flu. However I was getting chest pains and difficulty breathing and I had previously complained of memory loss. being only 37 my doctor said it was stress and anxiety attacks. I got zoloft. My husband kept going to his GI doctors with severe stomach pains, 3 CAT SCANs reveiled nothing. My boy started turning asthmatic- inhalers prescribed . The smallest her asthma got worst so 2 inhalers and liquid steroid! It wasnt until my 6 th grader honor student went from A\'s to C\'s and D\'s . I called I thought it was the tenage years hitting her or my father who passed away that caused it. Then we stayed home for 3 days without doing much. Everyone was tired , we watch movies, headaches came by some, I\'m tired the other, the little one kept saying my body hurt. Then my 12 yr old said my chest hurts and its worst when I breath i couldnt figure it out. We went out for dinner and everyone seem a little better. Then the next morning everyone was too tired, headaches and we went to work. It dawn on me that I felt better everytime I got out. We called a furnace company and the damn furnace was leaking for who knows how long!!!!we replaced it right away and feel better as days go by. I jus feel lucky I found out on my own. But $$$$$$$ on all medical trips and no one knew. My little one still says her whole body hurts and her stomach hurts, but a last trip to the doctor just does not help. What do I do. Is she going to have medical issues, what should I do? How long do this symptoms last. I guess thAt her being so small was really poisoned ! :( my poor kids! And I didnt know

what gives the doctors the right??
loopylou69uk from uk
my dad began hallucinating last Wednesday at first I thought it was down to a change in medication, then after a couple of days it progressed to several hallucinations as he was having trouble sleeping, I went to the doctors with him, on this occasion I stayed in the waiting room while he went to see the doc, he came out with a prescription for antibiotics, fine, then 2 days later he was mumbling incoherently and rang me at 4am I went round and he was saying he had been somewhere where there was water and a group of blokes, he found a phone not knowing how to use it had made a call, that was to me, he asked who he was speaking to which concerned me greatly. I had the intentions of speaking to the doc when they opened surgery. To cut it short we went to see the doc at 12.30pm this time I went in with him explained what had been happening over the past week, after a check on his breathing etc. he told me my dad needed an ambulance, we got home within 50mins the ambulance was there. After tyheir routine exam they told him they were taking him to hospital as the heart wasn't working properly so he wasn't getting enough oxygen. In the ambulance they gave him 3ltres of oxygen, following routine procedure. We were then rushed to hospital on an amber 3 alert my dad rushed into resus, he was given blood tests my dad was wired to machines after losing consciousness. Blood tests revealed he had pneumonia a water infection another infection and carbon monoxide poisoning the level of carbon monoxide in his body was 15 a normal amount is 5-6 he was given a mask which I was told was to draw out the poison, but the monoxide had turned the oxygen from the ambulance into poison. After 4hours of him lapsing in and out of consciousness, shouting and lashing out at the doctor and nurses he was sedated, then after what seemed like eternity a bed was found in a high dependency ward, out of the whole hospital only 2wards were used for this machine. He had kept his corner downstairs and my sister and me were told he would be kept on the machine for a few days. However once he was on the ward after 2hours the doctor told us he had an hour then he was turning of the machine and making him comfortable, we argued that he had not given him enough time, how he was holding his own downstairs. We informed the rest of the family who all turned up, and sat with him expecting the worse. At 1.00am the nurse took his blood for another gas reading it was reduced by then from 15 to 12 his oxygen level was 84. He was kept on the machine until 9.00am this morning the carbon monoxide reading was 9.2 at 2pm it was 7.25. He can hold a conversation (only small) knew who we were by names although he still is drowsy he is over the worst. It makes me wonder just how many families have listened to the doctors advice saying there isn't anymore they can do apart from make them comfy and talked the families into agreeing. I am only writing this to let families know if they end up in the same position, don't be too hasty in agreeing to his decision, there is always a chance he is wrong, if we had listened to this particular doctor we wouldn't be talking to my dad or waiting on him being moved to another ward where the machine isn't used we would have been planning his funeral. As for 100% recovery we don't know, or care, we have him with us he remembers us all by name even made a statement about Wayne Rooney being an idiot he asked for the united/Liverpool and city arsenal matches to be recorded later today so he has not been brain damaged by the lack of "normal " oxygen. Please if you find yourself in the position we have been in hold out for as long as you can against the advisement of the "experts" By the way my dad has had 5 heart attacks and is 77years old and on so much medication for other health problems he could open his own chemist.

Just nearly died
It\'s hard to imagine that I could have just died from CO poisoning. And it\'s my birthday! There\'s irony for ya! I sleep in a loft and heat my place with a woodstove. There\'s a bend in the stove pipe and the fire went low, so the draft must have lessened.

I am lucky to have woken up. When I did, I felt like I was sufficating. Very scary. Breathing easier now at a friends house.

Going to get a CO detector first thing. One thing that isn\'t meantioned is that CO causes chemical asphyxiation by using up all the bloodcells so that oxygen can\'t be obsorbed.

Panic Mode!
Kirsten from Dorset
Hi I moved into my house 5 years ago and from the off smelt gas. Had 2 gas engineers come and check the house out, but they found nothing so we believed the problem to be something else. We have now moved out of the house and it is on the market, but as everyone viewing the property could smell gas, we called out a third engineer... who has found a leak coming from our hob in the kitchen, which will be fixed before we sell our home. We were waking up groggy most mornings while living there, which now seems to have gone away (at least now we know why), but trying to find out if there are any longer term issues that we have to deal with and trying not to panic that we've been posoning ourselves for years!! Any thoughts?

low dose long term and acute poisoning event
michelle from NJ
Hi. I was a vibrant woman with excellent health until (he winter of 2010 when I began to feel excruciating chest pain. My blood pressure decreased too reading at 80/45 on average. I was fatigued and pale, and had headaches all the time. I was weak. I no longer felt like jogging, or lifting. I came home from work feeling pretty well but retired to bed around 7 each night, falling asleep within minutes. 3 winters. Six ER visits for chest pain in Feb and March. Low BP. Tachycardia. Headaches. Vision problems. Never did they run an arterial blood gas. March 8, 2012 I was rushed in to ER after collapsing, vomitting, and coughing up blood. I had been inhaling fine soot dust and CO from a leaking smoke stack in my laundry room. Still I was sent home. It took ten more days in the house, until I finally discovered the stack was rusted and leaking. I had it fixed. But my ABG showed my oxygen Sat at 88 but worse was my pO2 at 56. Low blood oxygen or hypoxemia was robbing me of memory, energy, vitality, and life. I felt like I was half dead. I received oxygen and feel better. My ABG was normal today. I don't know the long term effects on me. I'm just happy to be alive.

low dose carbon monoxide long term exp
kelly Lloyd from utah
http://cothesilentkiller.com/ 2 years now and no hope fo
r recover lost everthing that i worked for now on ssi

no answers if you now of any sickandwrong1966@yahoo.com

low dose carbon monoxide long term exp
kelly Lloyd from utah
http://cothesilentkiller.com/ 2 years now and no hope fo
r recover lost everthing that i worked for now on ssi

no answers if you now of any sickandwrong1966@yahoo.com

Jonathan from UK
I would like to know what to do next. I have landlord that kept turning my boiler back on after gas company turned it off due to gas leak. i feel sick went for bloodwork and the doctor said my results look normal but I dont feel normal. I feel terribly foggy and tired

Years taken off of my life expectancey
Anonymous from California Co. Co. County
It was a freezing cold night on our boat. After returning to the boat from the harbor to shower with wet hair I was shivering violently.

When my husband had the small hibatchi out on the boat deck we had just cooked our food on. The Old Wooden Owens electrical system was being overhauled and we had no heat source .

The hibatchi had burned out but was still burning hot to the touch when he brought it in and placed it on the cabin floor.

He laid down on the larger bed and I laid down on the lower to the ground bench type sofa closer and facing the heat source. I don't know how long of a time had lapsed. When this this violent wave of pain was whirling, throbbing, pulsating, like code a blue alert warning to my life's vessel was spinning my head and what felt like that my ability over my will of my mind body and to live was tilting on the brink and ever circuit and alarm in my brain was hay wired and was about to explode or something.

Trying to stop the thrashing inside my head and wake up. I wasn't able to control myself consciously but finally my body obeyed my thoughts or my "will" if you will.

I sat up and I felt as though I have to get help I was gonna die. I kept saying I cant breath but I was breathing. I started crawling out of the boat when my husband woke up and ask me what are you doing.

I told him help me I'm gonna die as I cant breath. He picked me up and laid me down on a lawn chair on the boat deck. That's all I remember until I woke up soaking wet from peeing my pants soaked from my waist to my socks from what felt like along time I thought I was then having a Grand mal seizure, but I cant really tell for sure. But he said that when I asked him how long i was out for (because it felt like I lost consciousness for a long time).

From then on I peed my pants at least 4 or 5 times a day for the next year and a half, and in sleeping I felt as though I would slip, spin into these painful seizures when i would fall asleep and start to lose consciousness.

I never have talked to a doctor about this.

Husband with CO poisoning
Wanda from United States, Georgia
I've been married for 2 years to a man (46 years old) who had carbon monoxide poisoning when he was a child, from riding in the furthest back seat of a station wagon. Apparently he had a seizure at the time, then symptoms of severe ADD came after that. He is "normal" over all, and takes dexadrine every day (amphetamine) which helps him to focus. He was givien ridalin and other ADD medications but they did not work for him, and dexadrine does.

He has hyper, intense behavior, and can be misunderstood by those who don't know him well. His short term memory is not the best - hard time remembering names of acquaintances, or he may forget details or conversations from an event that took place. He learned to remember things via "landmarks" that he notes in his mind. His fine motor skills were not the best after the poisoning and he learned to write/spell best by typing. His typing skills are great.

He has short temper (not abusive) where he gets agitated easily when I give him too much information in a conversatiion, that may be more info than he can take in and process.

While this may sound dismal, he is a very intelligent man (very high IQ), and functions well in businesss,and he is a great father to his 2 children (my step children).

He is more of a big picture guy and nets out details as they become clutter in his mind.

I'm learning how to be "happy" in my situation, hence looking at website to learn more on CO poisoning.

CO poisoning
Greg from switzerland
If you have been poisoned by CO. And you have memory problems. Even if it was some years before, you should take hyperbaric therapy. I have regrouped some nice informations about this very subject on www.corecovery.sitew.com

I'm finding it hard to find any answers on this website
I'm not finding anything that offers ideas about treatment, just stories about injury. where on the web site does it give information about things to try in order to improve?

Chronic CO Poisoning
LuAnn from ND
I would just like to tell everyone that my husband was subjected to low levels of carbon monoxide in his work vehicle because it had an exhaust leak. He suffers many health problems because of it and his doctor is treating him with medication used on patients with Attention Deficit Disorder becasue of his short term memory problems, his problems concentrating and his loss of energy. He has been out of that truck and away from that job for nearly a year and he still has health problems - his employer does not believe he was poisoned because they claim the levels of CO in the cab of the vehicle registered below 50 ppm (after the exhaust system had been repaired). We do not know the levels of CO he was subjected to before the repairs.

Treating as for ADD/ADHD?
Monica from Colorado
I suffered major episodes of both chronic and acute poisoning. I now have problems with my short term memory, ability to concentrate and impaired executive function. My health care provider feels these symptom mimic ADD/ADHD (attention deficit disorder).

I have been placered on meds used to treat individuals with this disorder. The results have been mixed as far as I am concerned.

Has anyone had their doctor treat the as though they had ADD/ADHD?


Sorry to say but it is possible that what and how you are feeling is related to chronic low level co poisoning.

I lived in an apartment for 2 years. There was a gas leak and carbon monoxide leak. While living there I always felt sick and had dizzy spells. I assume I was getting low doses for a long period of time. I havent been living at this location for a year and a half, but I still feel dizzy and tired all the time. I can not find out if the symptoms I am having could still be because of the carbon monoxide. I just never feel good and need a place to start. I know they would not be able to test for the levels, but I wonder if it is possible that carbon monoxide is the reason?

Cant find a doctor that knows anything about CO poisoning.
Yes I agree that drugs do make it worse. Now if there is a side effect from a drug I will get it.

Sometimes it may take a week before the drug effects me. I now cant seem to be able to take any medication which worries me. If some thing happens and I really need something I'm really stuck.

I cant even find a doctor that knows anything about carbon monoxide poisoning.

This sums it up
The gas man from USA
This page pretty much nails it on the head when it comes to recovering from poisoning. Doctors gave me the run around for year and years and I got nowhere real fast except for lots and lots of expenses. It took me a lot of trial and error with supplements and lifestyle changes to start making progress. The only thing doctors were willing to give me was drugs that made me feel a hell of a lot worse. They did not work at all for me.

Yes, carbon monoxide can and does kill. It also injures way more people than it kills. That is something that is overlooked and does not seem to be widely known.

I was poisoned some years ago and then had all kinds of health problems I never had before being poisoned. Then I dealt with a medical system that did not know what to do with me. They were useless.

Your website is the best I've seen by far. Thanks.

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