A guide to carbon monoxide...

Unsafe carbon monoxide level in the body and blood stream. How long does it stay in the body?

When a person or animal breathes air with an unsafe carbon monoxide level the amount of carbon monoxide in their blood stream (COHb) will begin to rise.

Once removed from the source of carbon monoxide:

  • Breathing fresh air will decrease the unsafe carbon monoxide level in the blood stream by 50% within 4 to 5 hours, then another 50% every 4 to 5 hours after that until normal levels are reached.

  • Breathing pure oxygen will decrease the unsafe carbon monoxide level in the blood stream by 50% within about 1 hour, then another 50% every hour after that until normal levels are reached.

  • Being placed in a hyperbaric chamber will force the unsafe carbon monoxide level out of the blood stream by 50% within 20 to 25 minutes, then another 50% every 20 to 25 minutes after that until normal levels are reached.

The longer the amount of time and higher the level of carbon monoxide in the blood stream, the greater the risk of injury and damage resulting in short term effects and long term effects.

Lowering unsafe carbon monoxide levels in the bloodstream is vital as the less time elevated levels remain in the blood stream the lower the risk of damage and ongoing health issues.

* If a woman is pregnant, the fetus is at higher risk of effects from an unsafe carbon monoxide level and poisoning. It takes longer to eliminate carbon monoxide from the fetus's blood than from the mother's blood.

Your comments about carbon monoxide poisoning...

FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousRedditStumbleuponYahoo My WebGoogle Bookmarks
Questions? Want to share your opinion? Do it here...
joe from nj
Exposed heavily on a Wednesday,went for test on Sunday, was normal, can I still be damag9ed? thanxs

joe from new jersey
Was exposed heavily on a Wed or Thurs. To co,crazy but didn't get tested till Sunday.Test was negative or normal, could I still get long term effects, meaning could I still have brain damage, any one? Thanx

Sally from Denver
I found this very helpful because I needed to know if I should go to the hospital the day after i was exposed to CO. Turns out I was ok. Thanks!

sam from arlington tx
how long do carbon monoxide poisoning stay in your bloodstream after being treated I was exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning about 3 months three or four months. I was exposed at my job I had to go to the hospital They said I had 75 percent carbon monoxide poisoning in my system I have to stay overnight at the hospital to be treated right now I am having problems remembering and multitasking.

Please help!!!
Stephanie from New Jersey
I have not been feeling right for over a month...bad headaches can\'t wake up till afternoon( like 2pm or later), moody,nasiua, keep seeing things out of the corner of my eye,weak, dizzy almost as if I\'m dehydrated...long story short my husband smelt gas this weekend and finally said something to me (I really don\'t know how long he has smelt it for he just said days) I hadn\'t noticed it I guess but when he said it I did, so we tested and rest our detector, low and behold a few hours later it was beeping like crazy...fireman came vented the house for about 15 minutes , maintaince cleared some rust off the furnace until they can come by with a shop vac...anyway my question is if it has slowly been building in my house could it still be in here? Could it still be in my body? This just happened last night (the fireman coming out, cleaning some of the buildup) but I am starting to feel real weird again, just not right...should I go to ER or doc? Am I just worried or can it still be in my system please reply ASAP email me something, please?

Would CO build up in running car in closed garage for only 5 mins?
CL from Canada
My 1 year boy and I were in a running car (a 2006 Toyota Matrix, which is not an old car) inside a closed garage for approximately 5 minutes yesterday. Would CO build up so quickly within the 5 minutes? I\'m having headaches right now. Should I be concerned? My biggest worry is my little boy. Please kindly advise. Thanks!

If I can save one person, I know why I didn't die.
Sandra from Oshawa, Ontario
Last year we believe I had low dosage of carbon monoxide poisoning for 5-6 months. I am still pretty messed up and only am I starting to remember my childrens names, birth date, where my husband and I were married etc...I can not read or write yet, and using a program that my friend wrote for me through computer voice command. I will be going to a rehab that deals with brain damage and trauma. My teeth litterally fell apart at a light touch and had to have 21 of them remove in the hospital. I have a brain anerysm in the frontal lobe, and I still not able to walk far without walking into something or falling, I still have blackouts (so I am told by my GP, I have no idea this is happening) and severe ringing in my brain mostly in the late afternoon to evening, I cannot touch my nose, have double vision and comprehension issues, I see silver stars mostly with the colour blue, but this too is slowing down and not moving so fast, but I hope and pray this will heal in time with managing my health now and support from anywhere I can get it. I am after just over a year, able to manage my bowels and swallow without choking, I am not coughing as much as I was before (my husband told me), it really hurts to think to much, and when I do I shake violently. I hear and see things that are not there which can be really crazy cause its like the boogyman in the night. Now I know why my parent told me never to do drugs...... lol. My memory just plain sucks and I am not able to use the stove or go out without supervision because I forget (one minute I know what I am doing and then the next minute I have no idea about anything). I do not remember too much during the time of the carbon monoxide except asking my family if I was dying. I remember watching my little dog run into the walls, falling down the stairs, and vomiting, in my logic I could not understand why the dog was trying to be like me, thats how messed up I was, I did not have the logic to go to a hospital or call 911, it was my friends, family, and family doctor who took control and where my guardian angels. No one suspected the furnace because we just had it serviced, so the medical doctors did not know what was happening to me, but knew there was a problem with my red cells and all the symptoms that got worse with time. The sad part is we had co detectors all over the house, but was told they will only go off at certain levels, and the understanding of how a furnace distributes heat in a home, how old the furnace is and guidelines when installed and laws that a service technican has to follow and my husband does not like the heat and shut the vent where he slept and opened the window and closed the door. How cold it is outside and how often the furnace kicks on or off, where the thermostat is located (ie near a front or rear door). My husband has done alot of research and it takes 120 days on average healthy individual for the red cells to replace the ones that have been destroyed by the carbon poisoning that starved the major organs. If you have health issues in general, smoke, age, everyones body is different in healing and if the damage has not already been permantly done. I cannot go into sleep by my self or yawn, so I was put on medication to force me into a 10-12 hour sleep pattern because when you sleep, that is the time for your body to repair. I know it is very hard to stay positive when you are all messed up and feel like your in total hell and back and it is so upsetting. Do alot of research, government laws, toxicologist or toxicology society, support groups, neurologist, hematologist, anyone who can comfort people like us who have to cope as well as our families. You want to know how bad carbon monoxide poisoning is.......I was a health care worker, trained in this and even I did not know why I was sick..I wish anyone reading this you are not alone....anyone who has never experienced this.....if I can save one person by my experience then I know now why I did not die........

Tiffany from CT
Can it juz say how many days or weeks it stayz in ur blood? I cant understand it. CO poising got me. Who ever wrote this please email me with a answer at sas45888@gmail.com. My ? How many dayz or weekz does CO stay in the blood? Please email me with a answer thanks

Cy from BC
Makes sense. Great to see a site that is written in plain English, for the rest of us mortals (and opposed to medical types)

How Long?
Tonya from North Idaho
How long can you be exposed before it becomes lithal? How fast will one die with this kind of poisoning?

CO exposure, repeated
Dave from PA
I bought a old car and it had holes in the floor boards and mufflers. I drove it around for periods of no longer than 10 mins when this happened, but it was enough to notice some CO symptoms. One day I had it so bad, I came inside with my heart beating out of my chest, dizzy and passed out/asleep. I later woke hours later feeling ill.

I can\'t confirm this, but since then my mood has changed as well as my physical condition. Of course turning 30 and gaining weight probably has something to with it, but I believe my memory and overall mental health has been compromised by this, as well as physical health... anyways, it would be nice to hear some feedback form people who are in the same boat as me or can offer-up any knowledge.

Long term afects
Anthoney from Utah
I want to know how long can it stay in the blood stream months? Years what I need some awnsers and the dics wnt tell me anytging

carbon monoxide inhaled
cheryl from virginia
i was exposed to it today probably for a half hour i notice my gate is off but nothing else really. Should I be concerned?

medical protocol needs an overhaul
40something mom from Canada
6 Weeks after an extreme poisoning, I continue to have elevated levels of CO in my blood. Fortunately I am going to get home oxygen delivered today and I am going to go to a private clinic to get additional hyperbaric treatments.

Given that no doctor or information is present, I would insist on additional treatments or go for private ones if you can. I believe oxygen protocol (or some other treatment they have not yet determined) should be much longer than the first 48 hours.

the cure is there its the misdiagnosis that is problem
cassandra from uk
in uk healthvisitors and pharmacists gps etc are all going to have easy to use gismo to check if suspect co poiisoning trouble is symtoms so divers and multiple unless obvious resp diff or collapsing profs go to their mindset tickbox and get it wrong treat 1 of symptoms but not root cause i had a list of 10 symptoms when suffering unknown to me and doc only got to2 on my list got annoyed said i have other people waiting and tahen in confusion i lost the list nd got depressed

Good info. Thanks.

Spot on. This is exactly what I needed to know. Thx.

Questions? Want to share your opinion? Do it here...
FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousRedditStumbleuponYahoo My WebGoogle Bookmarks


Return to About carbon monoxide or top of Unsafe carbon monoxide level in the body How long does it stay in the body and blood stream?

Exposed recently?
Learn more

Join the
recovery support

Easy ways you can
make a difference

Audio interviews
with experts

BSF: a natural

Revealing the
invisible iceberg?

CO linked to
common disorders

Carbon Monoxide