Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisonings usually occur during the winter months when people use heating sources that may produce hazardous CO levels. You can prevent CO poisoning by preparing your home heating sources for winter and by recognizing the symptoms of CO poisoning.
CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning any fuel. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) about 20,000 Americans are treated in emergency rooms each year because of CO exposure; exposure to high levels of CO can cause death.
Common symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, chest pain, nausea and vomiting.
You can protect yourself and your family from the dangers of CO poisoning by observing the following safety precautions:
Install battery-operated CO alarms in your home, especially near heating sources. Change the batteries in the detector when you change your clocks from daylight saving time to standard time.
Have a qualified technician check your heating systems, water heaters and other gas-, oil- or coal-burning appliances every year.
Have your chimney and flue inspected and cleaned yearly.
Do not use gas-powered appliances such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers to heat your home.
Do not use camp stoves or charcoal grills inside your home or in the garage.
Do not operate a generator inside your home or garage. Only operate a generator outdoors and away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow CO to seep indoors.
Do not run a vehicle inside your garage, even if the garage door is open.
If you think you've been exposed to CO seek medical attention immediately.