I am wondering whether slight CO2 poisoning (hypercapnia) can be induced by everyday bad behaviour. I am particularly interested in the consequences of

  1. The prolonged use of a surgical mask (a.k.a. procedure mask) typically when travelling.

  2. Sleeping, the head underneath the blanket

I don't know how well oxygen and CO2 diffuse through a blanket / surgical mask and I don't know how quickly we pollute our own air through CO2 expiration.

Can these simple behaviours represent health trouble to "normal / healthy" adults?

  • 1
    Carbon monoxide is produced by combustion, not cellular respiration. Humans do not produce CO so I removed it from your question. If you disagree with my changes, you can revert my edits.
    – Carey Gregory
    Mar 27, 2016 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


Interesting question.Actually there is no study specifically studied about it but even if you have less O2 and high CO2 content (depending on how thick your blanket is) you will never get CO2 poisoning! under blanket or breathing through face mask. Body will let you know when you need more O2 (it is not like CO poisoning). If you sleep under a blanket all night it means that your body does get enough O2 it needs. Probably you have slightly higher Hbg level too :-)). As long as you don't get up very tired in the morning it is OK. In extreme conditions; some symptoms of carbon dioxide toxicity can be seen including high blood pressure, flushed skin, headache and twitching muscles. At higher levels, you could experience panic, irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, vomited and potentially unconsciousness.

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