Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Could I have CO poisoning?"

ZocdocAnswersCould I have CO poisoning?


I just was walking home from soon and a work truck passed me and blew some exhaust fumes and dirt into my face. I'm finding it kinda hard to breathe now.. It may be because I get anxious extremely easily and worry a lot.. but I'm scared that I could have CO poisoning. I'm rather worried. should I be? I'm 15 and in really good shape.


That is an excellent question and one that would be best answered by your primary care doctor or pediatrician since you are 15. In general, carbon monoxide is a tasteless, smell-less gas that over fairly short exposure times can cause people to quickly become very sick and sometimes can lead to death. Usually, this is most common when an open flame is placed in a closed off room, usually this should create carbon dioxide but for a variety of reasons, instead produces carbon monoxide. It is very likely that you were exposed to a small amount of carbon monoxide from the exhaust of the truck that passed you by, but it is very unlikely that in an open space, you would have had enough carbon monoxide and at a long enough interval to cause any life threatening issues. That being said, it is still important that you discuss this issue and any other issues you might have with your primary care doctor who will be best able to evaluate and treat you. They may also want to discuss these issues of anxiety with you, and try and figure out what is the underlying cause for this. This may help you greatly in the future.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.