Carbon monoxide poisoning
What family and friends must know
When family and friends make the effort to learn about the potential for "extra" symptoms and after effects of
carbon monoxide poisoning it can make a huge difference to everyone.
Awareness, understanding, patience, and support is extremely valuable and can lessen the impact on survivors and
those around them.
While a survivor may look "normal", sound "normal", appear "normal", they may be experiencing a range of
[subtle] symptoms and after effects. It can take time to notice that they are functioning differently in comparison
to their pre-poisoning life.
The injury may not be obvious but can still be very real. It only takes a slight turn of the steering wheel to
drive a vehicle into the ditch or into oncoming traffic. Likewise, it only takes a small shift of the rudder and a
sailboat can go way off course.
Similarly, the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning may shift a survivor enough to [significantly] alter the
course of their life - and also the lives of the people around them.
People respond differently to the same level of carbon monoxide exposure. Because of this, after effects from CO
poisoning can range from nothing to severe in people with the same level of exposure.
A person with a relatively low level of CO
poisoning could experience lifelong effects and someone with an extreme level of
CO poisoning may have a full recovery.
Recovery from poisoning can be a long road for some. There is no way to predict what will happen.
Medical doctors, toxicologists, and health professionals are quite aware of the extreme dangers of carbon monoxide while at unsafe levels in the body/bloodstream but as a group lack understanding as to the
subtleties, real impact and long term symptoms of
For a survivor and those close to them, learning about the potential for "extra" health effects caused by carbon
monoxide poisoning together with self awareness and observation is the only way to proactively deal with
the long term consequences of poisoning.
It is generally thought that a person with one-time mild to moderate carbon monoxide poisoning has a strong
likelihood of full recovery without ongoing effects however:
- Carbon monoxide poisoning statistics are not
- The ongoing impact of mild to moderate poisoning can be subtle yet still have a significant impact on a
persons life (without the survivor or their family ever understanding that the poisoning was the turning point
that altered the direction of their life).
- The potential for ongoing symptoms is higher when the level of carbon monoxide exposure is high,
extreme, multiple times, or over
an extended period of time.
There are high risk factors that
increase the likelihood of additional complications, symptoms, and suffering in the short, mid, and long term.
Ongoing effects can show themselves as a huge range of symptoms and have a life long impact. Becoming informed as to what
could happen and what to look for is extremely important.
The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning may impact the brain and endocrine system, making it [much] more difficult for a
person to function on a day to day basis.
Concentrating, reading, absorbing, memorizing information, completing tasks and other levels of functioning may
be [much] more difficult.
Some survivors are impacted by carbon monoxide poisoning with a lowered sense of [self] awareness and may be
unable to recognize or admit-to behavioral changes. The behavioral changes may be clear to others (especially
people close to them).
Return to Carbon monoxide survivor home page or top of Carbon monoxide poisoning what friends and
family must know