What are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Common Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Low levels of carbon monoxide can lead to carbon monoxide symptoms that are not always obvious or present themselves in the same way as another ailment such as cold or flu – making this silent killer even more dangerous as it can be too late before you realise there is a problem.

The most common carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms for low levels of CO are as follows:


  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Dizzy spells
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing

The above symptoms will get worse the longer you continue to inhale carbon monoxide gas – sometimes rapidly (within two hours) dependant on the levels of CO. Long-term exposure to low levels of CO can result in mood swings, becoming increasingly agitated or depressed. You may also find you have difficulty concentrating or making decisions.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning when High Levels of CO are Present

When high levels of carbon monoxide are inhaled is likely that more serious symptoms will present themselves:

  • Loss of consciousness and death if very high levels of CO are present. Death can occur within minutes.
  • Chest pain caused by heart attack or angina
  • Seizures
  • Breathlessness
  • Racing heart beat
  • Ataxia – a loss of physical co-ordination
  • Vertigo
  • The feeling of being intoxicated such as behavioural changes and an impaired mental state

Who is most at risk from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Everyone can be affected by carbon monoxide poisoning but certain groups are more susceptible to the effects such as:

  • Young children
  • People who suffer from underlying respiratory health problems
  • The elderly
  • Pregnant women

For more information on who is more at risk click here.

Tackle the Threat Before the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Occur

The best, and most effective, way of protecting yourself from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning is by fitting a carbon monoxide alarm. Project SHOUT understands how confusing the world of carbon monoxide detectors can be as there are many different unis on the market all with different features, to help guide you through the process of purchasing the most effective carbon monoxide alarm for your purpose we have put together a buying guide to help you that also features a list of all our trusted retailers.