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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms and Causes

Carbon monoxide can be created whenever a fuel (such as wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas or kerosene) is burning. Breathing in carbon monoxide fumes not only prevents oxygen from being used properly by the body, but also causes harm to the central nervous system. Persons with existing health problems such as heart and lung disease are especially vulnerable, as are infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly.

Carbon Monoxide Exposure Symptoms

The following are the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Loss of hearing
  • Blurry vision
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of consciousness or coma
  • Respiratory failure
  • Death 

Carbon Monoxide Exposure Causes

Other common sources of carbon monoxide include the following:

  • Malfunctioning cooking appliances
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Clogged chimney
  • Auto exhaust
  • Malfunctioning water heater
  • Malfunctioning oil, wood, gas or coal furnaces
  • Malfunctioning gas clothes dryer
  • Wood burning fireplace, decorative fireplace, gas log burner or any unvented space heater
  • Appliances in cabins or campers, barbecue grills, lack of adequate ventilation, pool/spa heaters, ceiling-mounted heating units
  • Fires