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Staying Safe | The Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Posted: February 22, 2014

Carbon monoxide is a colorless gas that can be extremely hazardous and potentially fatal when emitted into small, enclosed spaces.

Often referred to as a “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is a major threat to individuals at home and in places that lack proper ventilation. CO, which is released by heating systems, cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns and wood, can lead to poisoning when inhaled by people and pets.

With these tips, you can learn how to detect signs of CO poisoning, as well as the benefits home security provides in alleviating CO risk.

Could it be CO poisoning?

The symptoms of CO poisoning are not always immediate. As a result, people may not be certain that they’ve inhaled the gas until it is too late to contact emergency medical services.

When one realizes the signs of CO poisoning - shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue and dizziness - the common symptoms may be dismissed as insignificant.

According to Silent Shadow, other symptoms of CO poisoning include chest pain, weakness and loss of consciousness, which may be mistaken for the flu or common cold. However, symptoms differ from the common cold in that those affected by CO poisoning are not likely to feel feverish or have discomfort in their glands. Those impacted by CO poisoning may also feel shaky at times throughout the day.

Preventing CO poisoning

The threat of CO poisoning can make people feel as though they are always in precarious situations. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an effective way to prevent CO leakages is to have appliances, heating systems and the like checked by a professional every year to ensure optimum performance and safety.

Strange odors can be a tell-tale sign of CO leakages, so if there is ever any hint of the gassy smell, one should immediately contact emergency medical staff. Another way to reduce the risk of CO poisoning is to keep all gas appliances vented and have chimneys cleaned at least once a year.