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Recognition of chronic carbon monoxide poisoning

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Chronic exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can cause

vague symptoms that are easily mistaken for other common

illnesses. During the past 5 years, three families have

contacted the Wisconsin Division of Public Health to report

illnesses that may have been caused by chronic exposure to

carbon monoxide. Members of these families were diagnosed with

a variety of conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome,

depression and influenza. Carbon monoxide exposure was not

suspected as a cause of these illnesses until heating

contractors discovered that gas appliances in these families’

homes were not properly vented. These cases serve as reminders

that carbon monoxide exposure should be considered in the

differential diagnosis of patients who present with chronic

symptoms of headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and mental

confusion–especially when these symptoms onset during the

winter heating season.

Knobeloch L, Jackson R

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (23 votes, average: 2.55 out of 5)
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