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Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when you breathe air that contains too much carbon monoxide. This gas has no colour, odour, or taste. You can't tell when you are breathing it. It replaces the oxygen carried in the blood. When this happens, the body's organs and tissues—which depend on oxygen—cannot work properly.
Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can come from many sources. These include heating systems, car engines, generators, jet ski and boat motors, grills, stoves, and fires. The exhaust from cars can reach dangerous levels in a garage and can leak back into the house. This can happen even when the garage door is open. You can also be exposed to high levels when you ride in the closed back of a truck. A motorboat or jet ski that is idling or working at a slow speed can be dangerous to a swimmer or someone being pulled.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: February 18, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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