The Silent Intruder: Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

silent-intruder

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced when fuel is burned — in cars, stoves, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges and furnaces. When it builds up — especially indoors — you can be poisoned. The challenge is that carbon monoxide has no color or odor, which is why CO poisoning is the most common type of fatal poisoning globally. Because of this, the onus is on homeowners to prevent and detect CO to protect their families. Awareness and early response are critical to ensure that if it does happen in your home, you react quickly to minimize the impact.

prevention

Prevention

  • Do not leave a running vehicle in a garage. This includes not leaving the vehicle running with the garage door open.
  • Always open the flue when using a fireplace. Be sure to have your chimney cleaned yearly.
  • Never use a generator indoors. In an emergency when power is needed, use the generator outdoors and run an extension cord inside.
  • Only use space heaters in well-ventilated areas.
  • Do not use an oven to heat your home.
  • Never use a portable gas stove indoors. Neither charcoal nor gas camp stoves are safe to be used inside the home.
  • Have all fuel-burning appliances inspected yearly. Fuel-burning appliances often include washers, dryers, HVAC, hot water heaters, ovens and stoves. The inspection should address not only the appliances themselves, but also ventilation for the appliances.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning appliances vent to the outside.
  • Place a monitored carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home and near bedrooms. ADT offers carbon monoxide monitoring. Make sure the detector has a battery backup. If the alarm sounds, leave the home right away then contact the fire department and your gas company immediately.
co poisoning symptoms

Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Breathing irregularity
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
carbon monoxide poisoning treatment

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Mechanics and Treatment

When someone breathes in carbon monoxide, it replaces the oxygen in his/her bloodstream. Without oxygen, cells in the body begin to die, and organs eventually stop working. The more CO someone breathes in, the faster poisoning occurs and the more dangerous it becomes.

Keeping as still as possible before receiving medical treatment for CO poisoning may help save your life. This helps conserve oxygen in your bloodstream, which is critical because your oxygen has been partially replaced CO as a result of the poisoning.

Treatment for Carbon Monoxide poisoning is usually performed at hospitals via oxygen therapy. If caught in time, the effects of CO poisoning can be reversed.

protecting your family

Protecting Your Family

With the combination of actively preventing CO poisoning, awareness of symptoms and monitoring, you can protect your family. Make sure everyone in your home knows the ins and outs of Carbon Monoxide.

SOURCES:
http://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm
http://www.webmd.com/children/prevent-carbon-monoxide-poisoning#1
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/all-around/Pages/How-to-Prevent-Carbon-Monoxide-Poisoning.aspx

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