Question: I have been in terrible fear the past month. My story is a accident that I tried to take in my own hands.

I have a car that had a massive interior fire. The windows were closed and the smoke ate away the fire so instead of handling it the right way I decided to drive it back because the front was still saved and the engine was fine.

And as a bigger mistake, my friend and I cleaned and gutted all the seats and plastics. the entire car filled with a black "smoke-soot" material. and the smell gave us headaches and dizziness. Unfortunately we wore no mask. I kept the car like a fool. Here's where is where gets bad. I have driven the car around for work for nearly a year now and we never cleaned behind the dashboard or changed the filters. I'm very worried I have had toxic chemicals thrown in my body after cleaning the car and driving it approximately 1 hour every day for a year now.
I'm very worried about having dioxin and many other toxins in my body.

Yesterday I went the hospital because I believe I am seeing early stages of chloracne, so i had my blood taken. Every thing came out okay.. they did 3 test... I forget which test.. the one I do remember is the cohb test. Which they found high levels of carbon monoxide in my blood. Not high.. I believe she said 30. I personally feel I need much more test done to find out what's wrong with me.

I have not been feeling well. I'm dizzy, confused my balance is off, I am hallucinating as well, my sex drive is nearly gone.. I'm only 26. I'm scared that I am permanently damaged from the toxic chemicals that may have possibly went inside me. I have so many questions. I also am looking to have dioxin test done on me. I need answers so badly. I hope you can help. Thank you for your time in reading my story. I would deeply appreciate any help you have to give. I need to find a place that can perform test that may help me find out if I have toxic chemicals stored in my body

I would also like to know if there's any way to reverse the damage done to my brain.. any pills/vitamins.. anything that could me start feeling normal again. 

Answer: From the research I have done, it appears that if you were suffering from dioxin poisoning, you would have certain symptoms such as a skin rash and that your liver enzymes would be elevated (this would show up on a blood test that looks at liver functioning). Carbon monoxide levels can be elevated in the blood by being a smoker or by being exposed to smoke. 30 is not at a dangerous level.

I am not sure where you could do to get testing to determining if you have toxic chemicals in your system. It would seem that the hospital would be the place but since you have already gone that route, I am not sure if there are specialty centers that may be able to do more extensive testing for you. Here is the telephone number for the American Association of Poison Control Centers 800-222-1222. Perhaps they can lead you in the right direction.

Your other symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, balance issues and a low sex drive can be due to other factors. Have you suffered a concussion or hit your head recently? These are all symptoms that may be present after a concussion. Stress can cause some of these symptoms, as can a lack of sleep. I would suggest seeing a neurologist if you are concerned about potential neurological issues that may be going on with you. If nothing else, they can do a work-up and rule out that this is not the issue.


Question: I read some information on your website about post carbon monoxide poisoning brain dysfunction and I am interested in more information. I was carbon monoxide poisoned over a period of 6 weeks that culminated in my roommate having a seizure and I called 911. My carboxyhemoglobin was 28 (2 hours after exposure on 100% Oxygen). I had hyperbaric treatment at the University of Kentucky. Since the exposure, I have difficulty sleeping, anxiety, worsened depression, impulsiveness, and terrible short term and long term memory damage. 
Prior to CO exposure, I had a 4.0 in graduate school, now I am barely passing. I can't remember things from day to day and I can't retain content when I study.

Answer: The acute treatment that you received, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, is what is typically prescribed following carbon monoxide poisoning. This treatment works to remove carbon monoxide from the hemoglobin in the blood and replace it with oxygen. After the acute phase of treatment, there may be lasting cognitive impairments, as you have described. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a form of brain injury so the treatment would be the same as for brain injury. Based on the symptoms you have described, most of your impairments appear to be cognitive (memory issues, issues with thinking), so I would suggest cognitive rehabilitation.