Can You Get Carbon Monoxide From Sitting in Your Car Outside?

The answer is yes, you can get carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from sitting in your car with the engine running outside in a garage or other enclosed space. This happens because the exhaust fumes from the internal combustion of the vehicle can escape through the tail pipe and enter the cabin. During winter, this can be more likely if a vehicle has been parked in the snow and the exhaust gets blocked.

Can carbon monoxide come from outside the house?

CO poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms, including headache, dizziness and tiredness. It can also lead to a loss of consciousness, heart failure and even death. This is because the body cannot use oxygen properly if CO levels build up. The odourless, colourless gas interferes with the way red blood cells carry oxygen to the brain, heart and other organs.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in many ways, from leaving a vehicle running in a closed garage to using a kerosene heater or gas barbecue grill indoors. It can also occur in confined spaces like boats or aircraft. The most common cause of CO poisoning in the US is breathing in exhaust from a running vehicle.

Symptoms of CO poisoning range from mild to severe and vary depending on the level of exposure. Those who are severely exposed to the chemical may require treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Those who have mild symptoms can recover quickly if they are removed from the source of the poisoning and brought into fresh air.