According to the Journal of the American Medical Association 2,100 people die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning each year in the United States. It is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States. It is colorless, tasteless, odorless and absolutely preventable. Is your home protected from carbon monoxide poisoning?
People who are unconscious due to inebriation or sleep can die before they ever experience the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, depending upon the levels of carbon monoxide in the air you can die within minutes or hours. A carbon monoxide detector will alert you and your family when there is a risk of being poisoned.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
The initial symptoms can feel like the flu without the fever. Look for warning signs like:
- Light Headedness
- Sleepiness Fatigue or Weakness
- Irregular Breathing
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest Pain
- Food Poisoning
Monitor dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in your home with a carbon monoxide detector
Sources of carbon monoxide:
Carbon monoxide is found in many household appliances like gas ranges or stoves, gas clothes dryers, water heaters, furnaces and gas or wood fireplaces. Carbon monoxide can also be produced by fuel burning space heaters, exhaust from cars, gas or charcoal grills, and clogged chimneys or flues. If items like these are in poorly ventilated areas, carbon monoxide can build up. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by toxic air that will poison you if you inhale.
How can I prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?
- Have CO detectors installed in your home. At a minimum, have one installed on every level of your home and outside each bedroom.
- Change the batteries in your CO detector every six to twelve months.
- Look for Underwriters’ Laboratories or the American Gas Association seal of approval when purchasing gas equipment.
- Have your gas appliances checked by annually.
- Do not use flameless chemical heaters indoors or in enclosed spaces. They burn gas and will allow CO to build up to toxic levels.
- Have a service expert repair any gas appliance that is not functioning properly.
- Be sure to open the flue when enjoying a fire in the fireplace or furnace.
- Do not use a gas oven to heat your home.
- Do not run a generator, vehicle, or other fueled motors inside. Even if the garage door is open to the exterior CO can still build up to toxic levels.
- Only use grills outside in a well ventilated area.
- Use battery-powered heaters when camping.
- Keep all gas appliances properly adjusted and use an exhaust fan where appropriate.
- Know the difference between the sound of your smoke alarm and you CO alarm.
- If you cannot afford a CO detector contact your local fire department. There are programs to help the elderly and the poor.
- Putting you or your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is senseless.