Treatingcarbon monoxide poisoning

Seek medical advice fromyour GP if you think you've been exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide. Goimmediately to your local accident and emergency (A&E) department if you think you've been exposed to high levels.

Your symptoms will often indicate whether you have carbon monoxide poisoning, but a bloodtest will confirm the amount of carboxyhaemoglobin in your blood. A level of 30% indicates severe exposure.

People who smoke can often have higher than normal levels of carboxyhaemoglobin in their blood, which can sometimes make it difficult to interpret the results.

Mild carbon monoxidepoisoning doesn't usually need hospital treatment, but it's still important that you seek medical advice.

Your house will also need to be checked for safety before anyone returns. Breathing inconcentrated oxygen enables your body to quickly replace carboxyhaemoglobin. Therapy will continue until yourcarboxyhaemoglobin levels decrease to lessthan 10%.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) floods the body with pure oxygen, helping it overcome the oxygen shortage caused bycarbon monoxide poisoning.

There's currentlyinsufficient evidence regarding the long-term effectiveness of HBOT for treating severe cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, standard oxygen therapy is usually the recommended treatment option.

HBOT may be recommendedin certain situations for example, if there's beenextensive exposure tocarbon monoxide and nerve damage is suspected. Theuse of HBOTwill be decided on a case-by-case basis.


The length of time it takes to recover from carbon monoxide poisoning will depend on how muchcarbon monoxide you've been exposed to and how long you've been exposed to it.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018