Carbon Monoxide In Your Car

The vast majority of us know that it is incredibly dangerous to leave a car running in a garaged that is closed. This is because it is possible to be affected by carbon monoxide poisoning. In fact, this is still a very common way for people who commit suicide, as they simply run a tube from their exhaust into their car and sit there until they fall asleep. Although we all know about this, very few of us know that carbon monoxide in your car can also happen because your exhaust system is leaking. Most people never realize this is happening because they don't spend very long periods of time in their vehicles. Perhaps you sometimes develop a severe headache during the day.

You may not immediately - or at all - think that this has anything to do with carbon monoxide in your car. Most people, with the power of hindsight, do notice that the headaches appear only in the vehicle, get worse and worse over time and seem to get better as soon as they are out of the car. It has been known for this headache to turn into severe pressure, and eventually spreading into the neck and the face. At this point, people often also develop weakness and nausea and will seek medical attention. However, the most common medical treatment that will be provided with these types of symptoms is an MRI, which will come back completely clear. A good medical professional will continue their investigations, but they will look at viral infections before considering carbon monoxide in your car. They may notice that there is some swelling in the brain, further evidence to the medical world of a viral infection, and provide you with steroid injections. The reality of this, however, is that none of this will work, not even the antibiotics you will likely be given as a precaution.

Continuing Symptoms

If you have unknown carbon monoxide poisoning, you can reach true levels of desperation. Unbeknownst to you, there will still be carbon monoxide in your car and the levels will continue to rise. You will probably find that when you wake up in the morning, you will feel slightly better. You may have good and bad days (again, with hindsight, this is relating to days you do and don't drive, or days where you have the windows in your car open). However, slowly but surely, you will start to feel very tired and generally week. As stated, if you have seen a medical professional, it is likely that you have received antibiotics. Because you have good days, when you are not exposed to the carbon monoxide in your car but you don't know this is what it is yet, you may ask for more when they run out, presuming that these are what are helping you have good days. Unfortunately, the symptoms will continue to progress, until the point that you become confused, forgetful and highly irritable. Some people report frequent and uncontrollable crying as well.

If you are lucky, you will come across this article, or perhaps a friend will alert you to the fact that it could be your exhaust. It is quite common for people to report that their exhaust had indeed gotten louder over the past few weeks or months. A noisy exhaust is one of those things most of us fix when there really is no other option. It's expensive and it seems to run fine even if it is noisy. However, if you have experienced the above symptoms and think your exhaust is breaking, you may want to check whether there is carbon monoxide in your car. A quick blood test will confirm whether or not you are actually slowly being poisoned. After this and getting your exhaust fixed, you will no longer be exposed to carbon monoxide in your car. You will start to feel better gradually as well. However, mild symptoms are likely to prevail for some time, before hopefully making a full recovery.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide in Your Car

One of the problems with carbon monoxide poisoning is that the long term health effects are not known. It is believed that permanent neurological problems may occur, as well as heart disease. This is particularly true for people who have had prolonged low level exposure, such as when there is carbon monoxide in your car. This is why it is so important to prevent the gas from escaping in the first place. It is unlikely that you will die in the way that people who try to commit suicide do - unless you are traveling long distances - but you may still do permanent damage to your health. Because the gas has no smell or color, it is incredibly difficult to detect carbon monoxide.

This is why you need to understand what the symptoms of poisoning are. We have discussed some of the most common symptoms, but you must be aware of the fact that death is very much possible too. You must also regularly get the exhaust of your car checked to prevent carbon monoxide building up. If your exhaust starts to sound different, get it checked immediately. If you find you experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, remove yourself from all possible sources straight away. This will also give you the necessary ammunition to tell your health care professional that you do not have a viral infection.

You must seek medical attention immediately, because even if you start to feel better, your body may still hold high levels of carbon monoxide in your bloodstream. This, in turn, means your blood is no longer able to transport oxygen through your body the right way, which can lead to your tissues becoming starved of oxygen and eventually dying. This could all be happening while you think you feel fine, or at least better than you did before. Hence, simply removing yourself from a situation or improving it is not sufficient: you must speak with a medical specialist.


Disclaimer: The information provided has been prepared as a guide only and the steps taken are likely to vary for different appliance models. We strongly recommend using a qualified engineer to undertake major repairs and fault finding.


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