Self [mis] diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning
Diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning can be tricky. Identifying carbon monoxide
exposure/poisoning as the source of symptoms is almost always overlooked by victims, simply because most people are
not aware of what to look for.
Awareness about the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning among the public is low. Unless the circumstances are
completely obvious, victims seldom correctly identify the cause of their symptoms and are therefore unable to make
a self diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If a person knows what to look for, it is relatively easy to identify early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
and therefore make an accurate self diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning.
However, there may not be the time to react if there are high levels of carbon monoxide in the air.
Early tell tale signs that could lead to a diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- A feeling that the air is stale or stuffy
- Headache, nausea, dizziness, and unexplained fatigue. As these symptoms are shared by many other common
conditions, the thought that carbon monoxide may be the cause seldom occurs to anyone (unless they know they
have been exposed to exhaust gases and higher than normal carbon monoxide levels).
- Resist the desire to take pain killer for a headache. Open windows or go outside to get fresh air. If the
headache subsides when breathing fresh air it may be related to CO exposure.
- A major tell-tale sign leading to a diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning is that people at the same
location (home, work, vehicle) have symptoms that appear at the same time - typically brain fog, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue.
- An older or younger person passes out without an obvious explanation - followed soon after by another
person passing out. Some people are more easily affected by CO poisoning.
- Seeing people or pets at the same location behave in an unusual way is another sign - especially if they
are doing so at the same time.
- Often low level carbon monoxide headaches are first noticed
when a person wakes up in the morning after breathing the same air for an extended period of time.
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