There is a blood test that can detect CO poisoning, but it must be carried out within a few hours of the reported poisoning, before the blood returns to normal.
The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is increased during winter months when windows are closed and heaters are on. Leaks and blockages in chimneys, vents, flues, heating systems and gas appliances increase the risk; also cars and other gasoline engines left running in a closed garage. In the UK, most CO poisoning takes place within the home. According to a 1998 research, more reported cases occur in houses, including owner-occupied ones, than in flats; and two-thirds of victims are women, with the most common age group being 30 to 45.
According to a 1997 study in the UK, family doctors were almost incapable of recognizing non-fatal CO poisoning; out of 77 cases, only one was correctly diagnosed. The misdiagnoses included flu, viral infections, chronic fatigue syndrome and mental illness, including depression.
Carbon monoxide is the number one cause of accidental poisoning in the USA.
2. Many are suffering from low-level carbon monoxide poisoning without realising it. They think it is flu.
3. The perception of carbon monoxide poisoning as an occasional tragedy affecting students in cheap bedsits may not be quite accurate.