People report fatigue, flu-like symptoms, memory issues, musculoskeletal pain, motor disorders and emotional (affective) disorders, where they may be irritable, moody or depressed.These symptoms vary widely from person to person, for reasons as yet not fully understood, but are not necessarily connected to the amount of carbon monoxide to which they have been exposed.What also often remains unsaid but is crucial to consider is the emotional toll of poisoning.
These are the cases that are more likely to be reported by the media.
Those of chronic poisoning, meanwhile are variable, somewhat vague, and nonspecific.
Carbon monoxide, however, also binds to proteins other than haemoglobin, and it is a toxin which is known to affect cellular respiration and causes an inflammatory response.
The brain and the heart seem most susceptible to damage.
Carbon monoxide (CO), like many gases, cannot be detected by our human senses. 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. While this may not seem like a huge amount, deaths from carbon monoxide are largely preventable.
People who have been poisoned may therefore suffer from neurological or cognitive deficits, psychological effects and cardiovascular issues.
Cruelly, such symptoms may occur weeks after initial poisoning symptoms have abated, and for some people they will be permanent.
It has a significant impact: people have to learn to live with what is in effect a brain injury.
Such sufferers may not be able to communicate, work or perform their usual daily activities in the same way that they did before they were poisoned.