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Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning can be very difficult to spot




Carbon monoxide (CO), like many gases, cannot be detected by our human senses. We cannot see it, smell it or taste it. But unlike many gases, small amounts are extremely harmful to us.
In 2015 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), 53 people in the UK died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. This compares with 170 people in the US. While this may not seem like a huge amount, deaths from carbon monoxide are largely preventable. There is, however, a general lack of knowledge about the dangers of carbon monoxide among both the general public and the scientific community.
The symptoms
We know the most about acute poisoning; we have some understanding of the wide range of symptoms and after effects that people who are poisoned in a single episode to a large amount of carbon monoxide suffer.
But what we don't know as much about are the effects of poisoning at lower levels, where people are exposed to smaller amounts of carbon monoxide, sometimes over a lengthy period, that do not trigger their carbon monoxide alarm.
Such people suffer nonspecific but significant symptoms. They may well have engaged with healthcare professionals, and had their symptoms...

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