Tis the season to raise awareness about carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an invisible gas that has no color or scent. It is created when fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, propane or wood do not burn completely. Nearly 500 people die and over 15,000 people go to the hospital for treatment of CO poisoning every year. Furthermore, 200 people die per year in their homes from CO gas produced by a camping heater, charcoal grill, furnace, gas generator, space heater, stove, or water heater during a power failure. High levels of CO can cause death in minutes or a person can die from exposure to low levels of CO over a long period of time. Symptoms of CO poisoning can be confused with flu, food poisoning or other illnesses. Warning signs include dizziness, headache, nausea, and shortness of breath.
TIPS TO PREVENT CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
- Install a CO detector or alarm in the hallway of your house near your sleeping area.
- Be sure to have BOTH a CO detector AND a smoke alarm in your home.
- Have your furnace and chimney inspected each year before winter arrives.
- DO NOT use an outdoor grill to cook food inside your home.
- DO NOT heat your home with your stove.