Yesterday we talked about the fourteen things that RV users can do to prevent being exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Today we are going to review what symptoms a person with carbon monoxide might have.

Since, carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and invisible it is important to identify symptoms if you are exposed. There are three main levels of exposure mild, moderate, and severe.

If a person is mildly exposed to carbon monoxide they will experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and blurred vision. But “mild exposure” may not mean that there can’t be significant brain or other organ damage. The term “winter headache” is used because people get headaches from faulty heating systems in the winter. But as the last few weeks of news have shown, you can get a “winter headache” in the summer as well as the “winter heart attack”, too.

If a person is moderately exposed to carbon monoxide they will experience confusion, syncope (which is partial or complete loss of consciousness without being fully aware of where you are – or fainting), chest pains, dyspnea (shortness of breath), weakness, tachycardia (rapid heart beats), tachypnea ( abnormally fast breathing) and rhabdomyolis ( a condition in which the muscle cells break down and release contents of muscle into the bloodstream)

If a person is severely exposed to carbon monoxide they will experience palpitations ( an abnormal awareness of beating of the heart whether it is too slow, too fast, irregular, or at its normal frequency), dysrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), hypotension (low blood pressure), myocardial ischemia or angina (a painful heart condition caused by lack of blood flow to heart), cardiac arrest, noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, seizures and comas.

It is important to not wait until your symptoms worsen if you experiencing any of these symptoms. If you believe you have been exposed please go to the emergency room and get checked. But a so called “clean bill of health” from the ER may not be an all clear. Delayed symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure can lead to serious permanent damage that can affect your heart, brain and other parts of your body.

For more information on carbon monoxide delayed effects please read:

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