Did you know that 430 people in the U.S. die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning every year according to the CDC?   Wonder why carbon monoxide poisoning is considered a silent killer? Without a proper and working carbon monoxide detector, toxic gas goes unnoticed and too often, until it’s too late to for help.

Breathing in CO gas is a medical emergency and needs treatment right away. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas made when fuel burns. Fuels include wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas, and kerosene. Breathing in carbon monoxide fumes prevents the body from using oxygen normally. This can harm the brain, heart, and other organs

Symptoms of CO poisoning include persistent, severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.

Most carbon monoxide exposure happens in the winter. This is because the most common source of CO poisoning is an unvented, kerosene or gas fueled space heater in the home. It vents the gases into the room, instead of outdoors. A space heater that is not installed right or not working correctly can release carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes into the room. It can use up much of the oxygen in the room.

Carbon monoxide can also leak from home or camping appliances that use oil, wood, gas, or coal and are not working properly, such as:

  • Stove and oven
  • Gas log burner
  • Ceiling-mounted heating unit
  • Heating furnace
  • Barbecue grill
  • Gas fueled generators
  • Wood burning fireplace
  • Clogged chimney
  • Vehicle with engine running
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Fire

To prevent CO poisoning:

  • Never use a gas oven or portable flameless chemical heaters indoors
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from windows, doors, or vents
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near each separate sleeping area
  • Get the chimney, furnace and other appliances serviced regularly
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