Carbon monoxide (CO) poses a serious threat to individuals both at home and on the job. According to the CDC, each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 people visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 people are hospitalized.
CO poisoning is the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the United States. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
If you or others around you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to get them and yourself out of the area. Being exposed to CO for an extended amount of time can cause irreversible brain damage, stress on your heart muscles, and eventually death.
General Safety Tips
- Never burn charcoal indoors
- Never leave your car running in a garage or any poorly ventilated area near a building or structure.
- Never heat your house with your stove – this can lead to a buildup of CO in your house
- Never use a generator inside your house or garage.
- Inspect your chimneys and exhaust vents around your home to make sure they are not blocked by foreign materials.
Do your best to avoid the situations mentioned above. Have gas-burning appliances and heaters regularly inspected by a professional to ensure there are no issues with using them in the home. Install carbon monoxide alarms on each floor of a building or home, especially near bedrooms. Test the alarms at least once a month and replace them according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
People who are asleep or are intoxicated are very susceptible to CO poisoning and alarms are the only chance to alert them to danger before it is too late.
Remind your family and friends about this important topic – their life may depend on it!