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Q. What is the normal level of carbon monoxide in the body after a leak?

Answered by
Dr. Arul
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 02, 2020

Hi doctor,

Recently been concerned about a carbon monoxide leak in my pick-up. Recently after a 3-hour interstate drive, I stopped and did a carboxyhemoglobin blood test, the results came back at 2.3 %. I felt that was on the high side of normal, so I took it to another exhaust place, he claimed it had a small leak, and repaired it. so this past week we took it on another 3 hour drive. This time my wife and I both tested again, mine came back at 2.2 and the wifes at 2.8 %. Is this normal after driving this distance or should I be concerned?

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Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Carboxyhemoglobin level is raised by various reasons, and the inhalation of carbon monoxide is one of the reason. Our body has many mechanism to increase carboxyhemoglobin level. For you and your wife, the level is normal, and nothing to worry. Lab to lab variation, intra-instrumental variation human physiological variations are the reason for different values at different time points.

In case of carbon monoxide poisoning, breathing difficulties, bluish discoloration of body (blood) are commonly seen. In such case just inhalation of fresh air can be helpful. In such cases the carboxyhemoglobin level is higher (than your levels). So I suggest to leave the worry. Go for brisk walking in fresh air daily and practice pranayama to balance the carboxyhemoglobin levels. If you want to repeat the blood test, can be done after some days. If the value is not doubled (below the doubled level), then it is normal. If values are doubled or more, only then it is the toxic influence.


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