Knowing the symptoms of carbon monoxide posioning can save your life. Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that occurs naturally in a very small percentage in the atmosphere. Inefficient furnaces, stoves or improperly cleaned chimneys can cause the gas to pile up in the house. Proper ventilation and regular cleanings can help keep a home relatively free of this poison, although it cannot eliminate it entirely. Carbon monoxide causes serious problems when it occurs in the body.
- Headache. Carbon monoxide symptoms may start with a headache and lead to more noticeable symptoms. A person exposed to a high amount of the gas may not seek help or leave the affected area until other symptoms appear.
- Muscle Aches. Aches in other areas of the body may appear shortly after a headache. Pains in the neck can occur, although most pain from carbon monoxide poisoning occur in a person's muscles. As with the first symptom, most people attribute this to other causes.
- Shortness of Breath. CO replaces oxygen in the air, and the molecule bonds readily to hemoglobin in a person's body. Oxygen normally fills this role and allows a person to breathe. A person staying in an affect room may notice something is wrong at this time.
- Dizziness or Disorientation. A feeling of vertigo, especially if other people are experiencing any of the above symptoms is a sign that is time to leave. A person suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning may find it difficult to keep his balance. Disorientation makes it difficult for CO poisoning victims to leave an area.
- Loss of Consciousness. A person who proceeds to this phase of carbon monoxide poisoning cannot get help on his own. Someone else has to take him from the environment and all the ambulance. The symptom is obvious to an outside observer.
Nausea and vomiting may also occur in carbon monoxide poisoning cases. A good alarm and regular maintenance can prevent most cases. If a CO alarm does sound its warning, open all the doors and windows and leave the house until the situation improves.