Carbon monoxide poisoning prevention tips and symptoms

B.R. Shenoy

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A woman died in her Pennsylvania home recently due to a gas leak. Her adult son and husband were in the house and were hospitalized. The gas leak may have been the result of a possible faulty appliance.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas emitted by gas furnaces, automobiles, charcoal grills, propane stoves, and portable generators.

Improperly ventilated appliances and engines, especially in a tightly sealed or enclosed environment, can build lethal quantities of carbon monoxide.

According to the CDC, at least 430 people die in the United States each year due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, with 20,000 seeking medical attention due to the poisoning and 400 being hospitalized.

Per a CDC report, the most accidental carbon monoxide poisonings occur in January, the second most occur in December, with July and August having the fewest.

The risk of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning increases during severe winter weather when we run our heating systems for extended periods.

I thought it might be prudent to list the carbon monoxide safety tips with the winter upon us.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Tips

  1. Install and maintain a battery-operated CO detector near every sleeping area in your home. If the detector beeps, leave your home immediately and dial 911. Every six months, check or replace the batteries in your COdetector.
  2. Have a qualified technician inspect your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances every year. Do not use gas cooking stovetops and ovens for supplemental heat.
  3. Get your fireplace checked once a year and check to make sure the flue is open during operation. Keep debris out of vents and ducts as it can cause them to become clogged.
  4. Open the garage door before starting your car. Do not leave a vehicle running in the garage or other enclosed spaces.
  5. Never operate a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or gasoline-powered engine within 20 feet of an open window, door, or vent through which exhaust can enter an enclosed area.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

This article originally appeared on Medium.

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