A guide to carbon monoxide...

Carbon monoxide poisoning
Four kinds of survivors

After carbon monoxide poisoning many survivors make a full recovery however, others experience a range of symptoms and health problems. The percentage affected is not accurately known.

CO poisoning can cause a wide range of "additional" symptoms and effects that cannot be reliably predicted or explained by oxygen deprivation alone. It can take time time and a level of awareness to begin to understand the real impact.

The symptoms and after effects of poisoning may be obvious or they may be subtle. Never-the-less, they can impact a survivor in many ways.

It is easier to notice some symptoms than it is others. For example, difficulties with memory, concentration or keeping track of things can be more obvious than mood swings, food, and chemical sensitivies.

Some survivors know they have symptoms and effects

These are people that are aware carbon monoxide poisoning has impacted their health, functioning and life. They acknowledge that they have been affected.

They are open to feedback and the observations of others, especially from those close to them. Over time they become increasingly aware of how the effects of poisoning are influencing their life.

As they recognize the impact of their carbon monoxide poisoning, they usually work [hard] to recover and heal.

Other survivors come to know they have symptoms and effects

Over time these survivors become aware that poisoning has been influencing their life. As they look back they come to understand that the effects of poisoning have been following them like silent stalker.

The shift to acknowledging the impact of poisoning may only occur after, or because of, [significant] life changes. Once they "get it", they usually work to recover and heal.

Other survivors experience symptoms and effects but do not know they are related to poisoning

These survivors are unaware the effects of poisoning are influencing their life.

Some in this group do not know they were poisoned by carbon monoxide because they were never diagnosed or they were misdiagnosed.

Even those that were properly diagnosed and think they have recovered may have been impacted in ways they are unable to recognise.

A survivor may [steadfastly] refuse to admit they have been affected. They may be troubled by [new or ongoing] health issues that they are aware of but never think them to be related to their poisoning.

As time goes on, observant friends, family and coworkers may notice minor, moderate or possibly significant differences but almost always the connection to carbon monoxide poisoning as the underlying cause of symptoms is not recognized.

The survivor may never recognize or admit to the effects of their poisoning even though their life may have been [significantly] altered.

As they do not believe anything is wrong, they may never do anything to recover from poisoning.

A diminished ability to see oneself and circumstances/behavior in a balanced way can be due to brain damage or brain injury.

Other survivors do not not experience additional symptoms and effects

These survivors do not seem to have been affected by their poisoning. Their health, mental functioning, family life, friendships, work and financial situation are not impacted.

Their poisoning was a "scarey accident", "a wake up call", they are "lucky to be alive" but their lives move forward without any major long term impact.

 

The percentage of survivors in each group is unknown as carbon monoxide poisoning statistics are wrong.

Your comments about carbon monoxide poisoning...

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My Story
Cheryl Wilson from Colorado
In October of 1967 I was 19 years old and received a "moderately severe" case of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty gas heater in an motel cabin in Sedona, Arizona. At the age of 67 I have noticed for the past several years it gets harder and harder for me to keep my train of thought while conversing with others or doing public speaking. My mind just goes blank and I totally forget what I was saying or attempting to relate. It is really embarassing and I end up just making a joke out of it and blaming it on "another senior moment."

For most of my life, I can't say as I have had a lot of adverse effects from my "gas motel experience" but then I don't know who I would be had that experience not happened. I have had problems with anxiety, depression, unwarranted fear and other emotional issues but whether they have been related to the gas incident is a mystery. I hope to study the issue of long term effects of CO poisoning to see if my present problems might be an outcropping of the gas incident but until then I'll just keep blaming it on my "senor moments."

memory loss
kk from Indiana
I've been searching a lot about carbon monoxide poisoning, ever since my mom passed out and bit half of her tongue off sure to it.since then she had been having a hard time remembering everything. Some time she even forgets names of family members. She losses stuff constantly and doesn't remember talking most of the time so she repeats herself. I have found that CO poisoning can cause memory loss. But its tricky. It doesn't come put all at once. Its like a hidden symptom. It comes out later. I'm still trying to found if it its permanent or not.

After Effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Henry Roberts Jr. from Liberia
My nephew was taken to the hospital unconscious as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. He survived, but now he is having serious problem with his legs with severe pains in his calf muscles. He also complains about tightness in his legs. Are these some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

help for c.m.p
eddie from nc
if you have been poisioned due to your employeer and they new that they were the blame,how can the laws of your state say you can not sue your employeer for it?

Acute poisoning?
Hannah from Australia
After having a quiet day I went to get some street vendor food in SE Asia with my boyfriend and we had to wait for 5-10 mins for our food. There were tuk tuks, motos, cars and coal cookers all around us and after five minutes of standing there I suddenly felt very faint, dizzy and nauseated. My boyfriend sat me down for a few minutes near a shop with the fan blowing out the door and i started feeling better, but when I stood over by him at the vendor again, with headaches, visual and auditory disturbances and confusion the symptoms became much worse and I suspected CO poisoning, so stumbled over to a grassy spot with trees and almost passed out, I experienced this impending sense of doom, and thought it wouldn't stop, but when i was scooped onto a tuk tuk home, it cleared up again but my legs and still shaky and uncoordinated. Is it possible that this was acute CO poisoning? Should I be concerned?

i survived carbon monoxide poisoning!
joe h. from saginaw michigan
sep. 10th 2012. i woke up this morning and began feeling the symtoms right away. thank God i even woke up. i thought i was having a heart attack or something. i was scared. headache, dizziness, vision fading, chest pain excellerated heart rate. i'm 32 years old by the way. i called for an ambulance. shortly after my call i realized my grandparents were experiencing the same sypmtoms. (i look after and care for my grandparents by the way) we were treated at the local ER. thank God we are all alive and seem to be doing well. the medics told us we were knocking on deaths door so to speak and my quick action saved all of us. i'm not trying to take credit for being a hero by no means, but i am so thankful to be alive. i never thought this would happen to me or anyone i know. i guess no one is immune not even me. thanks for your time, joe. (sorry for any mispellings)

DODGY LANDLORD
JANN
MY SELF AND 2 GRANDSONS RENT A HOUSE, WE MOVED IN 18 MNTHS AGO, OFFICIAL GAS MAN CHECKED BOILER, TURN IT OFF IMMEDIATLY. DANGER DO NOT USE. LANDLORD ARRIVED WITH A SO CALLED GAS BOILER EXPERT, WHOM TURNED IT BACK ON SAYING IT WAS OK. WE BELIEVED HIM. 2 DAYS AGO AFTER I YR OFFICIAL GAS MAN ARRIVED TO TEST AGAIN, INSTANTLY TURNED IT OFF, AS MONODIOXIDE SEROUISLY LEAKING FROM BOILER . STATES HE SO CALL LANDLORDS FRIEND HAD PUT OUR LIFES AT RISK, I WANT TO MOVE AND SUE MY LANDLORD, ANYONE NO AS TO HOW I WOULD STAND, AT MOMENT NO BOILER WORKING. ANY HELP WOULD BE GRATEFUL

Mild poisoning
Amanda from Essex
I live in a rented house. The annual gas check condemned our boiler. The flue was not fitted properly, and it had been admitting Carbon Monoxide.
I had had headaches - starting at the right hand side, moving across my brow
Vomiting.

I thought I was starting with migraines.
I was generally tired.

Luckily it was sorted out and I'm back to being OK again - though I feel VERY LUCKY to be alive - and I sleep with the bedroom window open (always)

Poisoned in car to the point of passing out as a child
Jim Dean
I am currently a 47 yr old man and experiencing many health issues all at once, from heart, eyes, breathing, to 2 blood clots in 6 months.At age 2 my parents car was like everyones and apparently had a bad muffler. I fell asleep due to the running car and windows up..and was rushed to the hospital where at the time appeared to be fine. The Dr. did however say that at age 40(my mom thinks its 40) I would have health problems caused by the experience.
I am looking for any answers anyone has, research is vague and I am currently going through md hell! Thanks

my story
cherish from maryland
I was 12 years old when I spent the night at my grandmother house, I went to bed and I woke up in the hospital 7 days later. I hade a headache but I went to sleep hoping to sleep it off my aunt was sleep with me. She woke up and found me unconcious. So she carried me from the basement to the top of the stairs and out of the house. The ambulance came and I was close to death unconcious for 7 days. I woke up and my first words was the bedpan felt like a bullet in my a**. I stayed in the hospital for another week going to the hyperbarick chamber 3 to 4 times a day. I hade to go to kennedy kriger so they could run alot of memory test on me. I was told I would loss more and more memory the older I get. I was just so happy to be alive that I thought that I could live with that. Now I am 26 years old two children and I see what the doctors was talking about. My short term memory is gone I fell like a 60 year old women, not to mention that my family and extended family don't know what I am going through. The more and more I tell them the effects of memory lost are from carbon dioxide the more they don't understand. I am so glad I could come to this sight and see people who have been through the same stuff that I have been though and im not going crazy.

Suspected Mild Exposure Over Long Time
David B from London
I have a 30 year old gas fire in my small lounge. For over 3 years I have spent a lot of time in the room watching TV and I like to snooze here also. The room is a modest 12' x 10'. I have recently developed an unpleasant frontal headache at my left eye region and behind that area. I went out and bought an alarm. It's registering nothing. I am suspicious that I have been getting a low CO dose, which might have spiked a bit before buying the alarm (i dropped off to sleep for the whole night just recently). Does anyone know if my fire could be emitting CO at a level lower than the detector will detect, enough to affect me after 12 hours of continuous exposure and giving me the strange headache ? Thanks Dave.

Suspected Mild Exposure Over Long Time
David B from London
I have a 30 year old gas fire in my small lounge. For over 3 years I have spent a lot of time in the room watching TV and I like to snooze here also. The room is a modest 12' x 10'. I have recently developed an unpleasant frontal headache at my left eye region and behind that area. I went out and bought an alarm. It's registering nothing. I am suspicious that I have been getting a low CO dose, which might have spiked a bit before buying the alarm (i dropped off to sleep for the whole night just recently). Does anyone know if my fire could be emitting CO at a level lower than the detector will detect, enough to affect me after 12 hours of continuous exposure and giving me the strange headache ? Thanks Dave.

Suspected Mild Exposure Over Long Time
David B from London
I have a 30 year old gas fire in my small lounge. For over 3 years I have spent a lot of time in the room watching TV and I like to snooze here also. The room is a modest 12' x 10'. I have recently developed an unpleasant frontal headache at my left eye region and behind that area. I went out and bought an alarm. It's registering nothing. I am suspicious that I have been getting a low CO dose, which might have spiked a bit before buying the alarm (i dropped off to sleep for the whole night just recently). Does anyone know if my fire could be emitting CO at a level lower than the detector will detect, enough to affect me after 12 hours of continuous exposure and giving me the strange headache ? Thanks Dave.

Suspected Mild Exposure Over Long Time
David B from London
I have a 30 year old gas fire in my small lounge. For over 3 years I have spent a lot of time in the room watching TV and I like to snooze here also. The room is a modest 12' x 10'. I have recently developed an unpleasant frontal headache at my left eye region and behind that area. I went out and bought an alarm. It's registering nothing. I am suspicious that I have been getting a low CO dose, which might have spiked a bit before buying the alarm (i dropped off to sleep for the whole night just recently). Does anyone know if my fire could be emitting CO at a level lower than the detector will detect, enough to affect me after 12 hours of continuous exposure and giving me the strange headache ? Thanks Dave.

Suspected Mild Exposure Over Long Time
David B from London
I have a 30 year old gas fire in my small lounge. For over 3 years I have spent a lot of time in the room watching TV and I like to snooze here also. The room is a modest 12' x 10'. I have recently developed an unpleasant frontal headache at my left eye region and behind that area. I went out and bought an alarm. It's registering nothing. I am suspicious that I have been getting a low CO dose, which might have spiked a bit before buying the alarm (i dropped off to sleep for the whole night just recently). Does anyone know if my fire could be emitting CO at a level lower than the detector will detect, enough to affect me after 12 hours of continuous exposure and giving me the strange headache ? Thanks Dave.

Suspected Mild Exposure Over Long Time
David B from London
I have a 30 year old gas fire in my small lounge. For over 3 years I have spent a lot of time in the room watching TV and I like to snooze here also. The room is a modest 12' x 10'. I have recently developed an unpleasant frontal headache at my left eye region and behind that area. I went out and bought an alarm. It's registering nothing. I am suspicious that I have been getting a low CO dose, which might have spiked a bit before buying the alarm (i dropped off to sleep for the whole night just recently). Does anyone know if my fire could be emitting CO at a level lower than the detector will detect, enough to affect me after 12 hours of continuous exposure and giving me the strange headache ? Thanks Dave.

Brain Damage
R.A.S. from USA
Took what remaning friends I have to notice the changes in personality and behavors. i have been recently tested and show alot of brain damaged.

Auto Accident
Michael A Rooney from Marshfield, MA
I believe Carbon Monoxide caused me to convulse while driving in traffic.I became unconscious while driving and had a severe accident.My fiance broke her back and shattered her hip.I was exposed to carbon monoxide at work. Ifdy8 am wondering if this contributed to my seizure?

life time of suffering
ventura manzanares from denver colorado
I was exposed to carbon monoxide 3000 to 4000 times in low dose exposures when I was a child between the ages of 3 and 9. I played in a dirt basement for years. I would play in the coal and shovel the coal into the furnace and breath in the coal dust and the carbon monoxide fumes. The furnace had bad ventilation. Plus the heat pipes were wrapped in asbestos. I got the triple whammy. Arscinic, asbestos, and carbon monoxide.

I had anger issues from the fifth grade on. Then I had headaches from junior high school all the way into my mid thirtys. Terrible headaches that would last for days. They would travel all over the right side of my head and into my neck. It also affected my ability to swallow. I have to gulp liquids and chew my foods real well. The damage also effected my teath. I have 8 teath left.

Now I'm in my late 50's and the effects are even greater then I could have imagined. I have a hard time writing, I place the second letter first and have to add the first. I have the shakes all the time inside and out. Sometimes it's so bad I can't write or dial the phone. I suffer from PTSD and Bi-Polar 1, depression and mania.

The progression was slow and I didn't realize the amount of damage I had received. I get waves of numbness over my head like when you bump your elbow. My ability to work has been dramatically decreased.

I also have the endless ringing in my ears. I don't know when it started but it has never stopped. It's like voices in my head. The only time I don't hear the ringing is when I take a shower or I'm sleeping. I'm afraid to ride a bycycle because the ringing goes into an episode of intense deafness and loud ringing and I never know when it is going to happen. I have to stop and depressurize my ears for it to stop.

I'm afraid for my life now. I am trying to get disability. I had to find out all this information all out on my own. I've been to the the therapist and doctors and now they are starting to listen to me. I could have been saved years ago if someone would have researched my symptoms. Everyone thought I was just messed up as a kid, and now as an adult.

I have found this site very helpful and the recovery link is great for video information. If you're interested please contact me at: venzar@hotmail.com

ventura

In response to charlie about his brother
Sarah
Yes the effects are permanent. I did the same thing (hose and car) and they gave me 1 year to say that's how much I would recover. That was over 10 years ago.

It sucks really bad. I feel the same way as your brother but I've learned to pretend.

That's pretty much all I can do...just pretend it isn't as bad as it is.

Senior Housing and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
prairiesun from Kansas
CHECK YOUR FURNACES EVEY YEAR!!
We just found that the senior apartment my mother lives in has a furnace that was blowing carbon monoxide back into the room. It is a 30 year old furnace and of course, the housing owners won't replace anything until they get a grant to do it. It has probably been like this for at least 2 years or more and guess what? Mom developed a brain damage condition a couple years ago that is progressive and has been getting worse as time goes by, causing loss of speech and speech understanding, memory loss, confusion, weakness walking, breathing problems, other signs of brain damage, all symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. We went to neurologists and specialists galore and no one had an explanation and just said she has dysphasia (inability to speak or understand speech) and they knew people sometimes had this happen, but they did not know the cause. She did not show stroke history on the MRI. Wonder if they ever tested for carbon monoxide poisoning? I was always puzzled that her condition seemed worse in Winter. GET YOUR OLD FURNACES REPLACED WITH ONES THAT BLOW THE SOOT AND CARBON MONOXIDE OUT INSTEAD OF LETTING THE SOOT BUILD UP AND BLOCK THE CARBON MONOXIDE FROM GETTING OUT THE FLUE. CHECK EVERY YEAR. HERS WAS BURNING YELLOW WHICH IS NOT RIGHT. IT IS MORE COMMON THAN ANYONE REALIZES!

Never give up
Abigail from South Carolina
I lost my memory due to carbon monoxide poisoning in 2001 and it has taken me all these years to learn how to deal with the short and long term memory damage. You must never give up, that is what I have taught myself, continue to read everything you can on how the brain-memory works and try to self help yourself. Never believe anyone who says you wont get better because they do not have enough statistics or previous patients like you. If you have received a significant dose of CO and you are lucky to be alive, then take that as hope itself that you will get better, for some reason your body did not give up and that is a very positive thing indeed. :)

Poisoned 1976
Liz from Wisconsin
I was 18 yrs old in 1976. My boyfriend and I fell asleep in his car at a fall party. His muffler had been damaged.

I woke up 7 hrs later he was dead and I was in bad shape. I had a miocardial infarction (heart attack) and who knows how much brain damage and organ damage.

I climbed out of the car and my ears were ringing so bad I couldn't keep my balance, kept falling down. Made it to a fence by the interstate and climbed over. A passing vehicle saw me and took me to a wayside where we were met by an officer. He took me to a town and called an ambulance. I was in 3 hospitals that day and nobody knew what to do.

I was in intensive care for 10 days and then released. I have mitral valve prolapse(not sure if it was from poisoning) memory loss, anxiety attacks, severe debilitating migraines, severe fatigue , psychic dreams and happenings. It scared me to the point that I never slept. I was too afraid to close my eyes because of the things I would see. That led to insomnia and what I will call people issues.

I couldn't stay with anyone to long because I would wait for them to die. Once I get that feeling I have to move on. I relate better to animals than people.

I have a son, he was 9 mo at the time. I gave him to his Dad (we weren't together) and walked away. No feelings-just needed to keep going and I haven't stopped since. We have a good relationship now but his life has been messed up severely because of this. I have been married too many times and can walk away feeling nothing. My family gave me absolutely no support. I have been on my own ever since.

I have good friends that have helped me survive. Without them I don't know where I would be. Doctors could give a damn if you tell them what has happened, they don't believe it has any bearing on your long term health. It does, so don't buy that diagnosis for a second.

I ended up finding a homeopathic doctor from Egypt that finally helped me. With the right detox supplements and a long term vitamin program I feel alot stronger. I will never be a 100% but just knowing I am not imagining this really helps. Nothing worse than having people/doctors say they don't believe you or that you are exaggerating how weak and helpless you feel.

Don't give up, keep trying to find someone who will listen. Usually chiropractor and homeopathic practitioners will offer you some advice. Doctors just don't listen.

House Fire CO victim, 10 years ago
Claire Robinson from Cheshire, England
I was rescued from a house fire 10 years ago and was sedated, put on a ventilator and life support machine.

I don't know how much Carbon Monoxide I had inhaled, but I was told by the hospital staff that I was "extremely lucky to be alive".

Apart from having an impaired lung, which has resulted in Asthma, I didn't have any symptoms. I returned to University and completed my degree with Honours.

Apart from marrying my soul mate 3 years ago and giving birth to my daughter last year, I havn't been very successful in keeping a job, friends come and go and I'm constantly frustrated with life.

I find it hard to relax, I get angry easily, Im always blaming my parents for my lack of success through their lack of support in everything I do.

My memory is getting worse and I feel anxious most days. Im not sure whether these are common side effects from CO poisioning or just me.

Can anyone enlighten me or advise me on where I can get tested?

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Christine from Ohio
What I am noticing that even people will small amounts are having after effects. When I see a family being pulled out of there home and rescued on the news. I get a chill thinking what is that family going to go though down the line?

They aren't even going to know that it is from the CM that did it to them. Years ago you always saw commercials about it. Now they are far and few they need to be back on TV and out there informing people that yes this is a killer and those who get exposed are at a serious risk as well.

I am adding this carbon monoxide poisoning site to my email signature. It needs to be out there.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoned
Christine from Ohio
I was poisoned from 2002 8 months into 2003. We bought a home and it had CM leaking though it. We told our insurance company who at the time was American Family. They told us to just keep the windows open until the new furnance and hot water tank was installed in August! The whole family was exposed but I am a house hermit so I got the brunt of it all.

I have numerous health problems. The first doctor I had would't do anything he just said there is no after effects from carbon monoxide. I am sick all the time and in pain. Never gets any better just worse. I now have a heart condition I didn\'t have, seizures, fibromyalgia, memory problems etc.. almost all the symptoms that are on the page.

My hubby and my family especially my Mom is my rock. It is very hard to deal with let alone survive. No one understands what you are going though.

I am glad to have survived but it is a daily struggle.

We tried to sue the seller but she never showed up in court. She knew about the problem otherwise she would have shown up and faced the music. Instead she decided sell a home that had a serious problem and let a family suffer.

Long term effects of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Charlie
My brother attempted suicide with a hose fed from the tailpipe of his vehicle into the cab of the truck 15 months ago. He was hospitalized, treated and received treatment at a facility for a week afterward. As an outpatient, his doctor determined this was an isolated incident, and did not continue treatment. Over the last months my brother is increasingly agitated, easily angered, and constantly feels victimized. He won't listen to me that his personality has changed and this is the first time I have investigated the poisoning as a possible cause. We have no idea how long he was in the truck, but he was unconscious when he was found.
Are these affects permanent?

David from Toronto, ON
I am sure I was poisoned three years ago but have been unable to prove it for sure. My symptoms are very similar to those described on your site and other sites. How can I prove that I was in fact poisoned?

Lily from SA
As someone that was poisoned by carbon monoxide felt "poisoned" and quite ill for a long time after wards. I had have low energy, difficulty putting thoughts together, and a long list of other problems - and still do. Excellent website. Thank you for making so many things clearer for me.

Michael D from MN
My wife and I were poisoned. I knew the poisoning had affected me but she just could not see that it was still affecting her.

Her moods, behavior, personality and a lot of other things changed but she refused to even admit she was different. Her spending went out of control and she was so impulsive and reactive. She couldn't explain why she was doing many of the things she was doing.

We had to get other family members involved to let her know that she was acting differently. Basically we did an intervention. It was a nasty situation.

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