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Author Topic: I was an idiot and now I'm worried about carbon monoxide  (Read 418 times)

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Offline matt1990

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I was an idiot and now I'm worried about carbon monoxide
« on: January 19, 2014, 02:32:21 AM »
Every once in a while I tend to fixate on certain diseases or bad things that can happen and recently its been carbon monoxide poisoning. I feel embarrassed to admit this situation but I wont be able to get over it without some reassurance. I decided to get a CO detector that has an alarm as well as a digital co level read out. Well I wanted to make sure it actually works by testing it with my truck in the garage while the garage door was open. I started the truck and held the meter by the tail pipe for just a few seconds. I planned on just getting a quick reading to ensure the meter was working and then get out of there fast, but the meter wasn't showing anything right away. 10 -15 seconds went by and all of the sudden the meter showed 35 ppm and climbing. I ran to shut off the truck, exited the garage and waited outside for it to completely air out.
From researching CO levels this reading seemed too low to be accurate for car exhaust so I decided to come back and try the test again.

This time I set a lawn chair with the meter on it near the tail pipe so I would not have to be inside the garage while I gave it a longer second test. I proceeded to start the engine and ran out of the garage. I would say no more than 30 seconds went by until I checked the levels on the co meter which showed it maxed out 999 ppm. I immediately said OH ****, shut the truck off and ran outside to fresh air.

Those two tests were done last night. Both times the high levels of CO did not sound the alarm and I started to wonder if it was working so today I decided to try a few more times. I basically ran through the sequence three more times with starting the truck, waiting outside as I counted 30 seconds, holding my breath to run in read the meter, shut the truck off and run outside. The meter showed various levels of CO but the alarm never sounded.


I have no idea if these short exposures were enough to poison me but I am really worried now. In hindsight I know I shouldn't have done this but I needed to check the meter and was as cautious as possible while doing it. The garage is actually part of a commercial fabrication shop so it is not attached to a house for the fumes to have spread in. While doing the tests today I was running the shop's two high volume exhaust fans with the garage open but for the tests last night I just had the 16 foot garage door open. I waited outside 10 feet from the garage door during every test. The only times I was exposed to co was when I ran in to read the meter and shut the truck off.

I stayed up all last night and spent most of today reading about carbon monoxide on the internet. I'm terrified of long term brain damage in general from carbon monoxide. I didnt have any symptoms of co poisoning at the time of being exposed like headache, dizziness or anything. Of course having health anxiety and reading about symptoms, tonight I'm feeling a liquidy discomfort sensation in my chest and throat. I cough occasionally as it itches. I sneezed a couple times and am slowly irrationally becoming convinced the liquidy discomfort in my chest is an angina attack from carbon monoxide poisoning. When I breathe in there is no increase in discomfort. It feels kinda like when you choke on your spit or when drinking water goes down the wrong way. What do you think will I be ok? If this were co poisoning would I have felt obvious symptoms right away?
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Offline Chilly

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Re: I was an idiot and now I'm worried about carbon monoxide
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2014, 03:22:53 AM »
I would say that Carbon poising is unlikely in your situation. I've worked around cars for years now, and I take in a small amount of fumes every day. I've never had or known anyone that has had Carbon poisoning from brief exposure. I don't recommend sitting there for too long, though :winking0008:
Hope this helps!
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Offline i960

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Re: I was an idiot and now I'm worried about carbon monoxide
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 03:27:19 AM »
You're absolutely completely overreacting here. There's pretty much zero possibility you've somehow injured yourself or did any measurable damage from those tests in the garage. Starting a car in the garage and even standing there for a few minutes would pretty much have no effect unless you've got the car backed in with the exhaust pluming into the garage. Even then, it would be temporary lightheadedness at most (anyone who's ever had an exhaust leak knows what I'm talking about) and nothing long-term.

This is the main issue you should be concerned about:

Quote
Every once in a while I tend to fixate on certain diseases or bad things that can happen

That is the problem, not the carbon monoxide.
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Offline matt1990

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Re: I was an idiot and now I'm worried about carbon monoxide
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 03:55:41 AM »
The exhaust was right near the outside of the garage door. I read so many terrifying things when googling carbon monoxide that my thoughts probably became irrational. I read on several websites that often people who are mildly exposed will still develop some long term affects that begin a couple weeks after the exposure. This information may be trouble as it urges me to be checking myself for brain damage during the next few weeks. They say even chronic low levels may cause permanent brain damage, heart problems, increased chance of developing parkinonism, lou gehrigs diesease, multiple sclerosis and countless others. I hate the risks of carbon monoxide exposure.

Whats scary too is how quickly CO can build up to harmful levels in just a few minutes. It makes me want to throw out the propane heater, sell my truck and buy an electric car. 

For one reason or another I get triggered to fear a particular disease. This episode reminds me of a few months ago when I feared legionaries disease and was literally counting the days for pneumonia to set in. Similarly with a bacterial meningitis fear I was counting enough days to go by so I could disqualify my fear of having it or not. I need to find help for these anxiety issues.

Thanks for the replies now I will be able to sleep more peacefully!
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Offline Sunlover

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Re: I was an idiot and now I'm worried about carbon monoxide
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2014, 10:21:06 AM »
My gas company told me that if I am ever going to cook a turkey in my gas oven that I should put the detector further away from the stove because a gas oven running that long COULD set of the alarm.   I never yet heard of anyone getting CO poisoning while having a Thanksgiving dinner.   So relax... now you are sounding like me!   :goofy:
And CO poisoning would happen fast, not days later.  You get very sleepy and would probably pass out right at the TIME.  Even if you DID pass out and were dragged outside to fresh air and came back to, even THEN you wouldn't have any brain damage.  You're fine  :action-smiley-065:
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