Carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, is often called “the silent killer,” as these properties make it hard to detect. It is produced by the burning of gas, wood, propane, charcoal, or other types of fuel via combustion engines, appliances, or heating systems. While such sources are not usually a concern, if a car is left running in an enclosed space or an appliance or heating system malfunctions or is used improperly, the buildup of carbon monoxide may reach toxic levels, causing poisoning in those who are nearby.
According to WebMD, when a person breathes in too much of the gas, “it replaces the oxygen in your blood. Without oxygen, cells throughout the body die, and the organs stop working.” In the United States alone, carbon monoxide poisoning kills more than 400 people each year, so it’s important to be mindful of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in order to seek medical attention right away.
1. Dull Headache
According to the NHS, the most common early warning sign of mild carbon monoxide poisoning is “a tension-type headache.” ASecureLife.com says that past victims often describe it as “a continuous headache that sits at the front of the head and generates a dull pain.”
Headaches are all too easy to dismiss, so it’s important to be mindful of whether they occur in a consistent setting, such as in your home, vehicle, or at work. You may also notice that they tend to dissipate quickly after leaving the location where the carbon monoxide gas leak is occurring.