As the weather becomes colder throughout the U.S., it is important for people to keep in mind the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to avoid it from happening to you or your loved ones. Also known as the quiet killer, carbon monoxide comes from fumes produced by furnaces, vehicles, portable generators, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, or burning charcoal or wood. When the fumes become trapped inside the home, it can cost lives.
When the power goes out due to emergencies such as bad weather or hurricanes, the use of alternative power options such as portable items used for heaters and cooking goes up. This can be especially dangerous if fumes from these items build up in the home. This is why it is so important to make sure your homes are equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. (Don’t forget to replace the batteries on a regular basis!) More than 450 people die each year due to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. By recognizing and preventing carbon monoxide poisoning, we can help lower the number of unintentional deaths and help save lives.
Carbon monoxide poisoning has symptoms that are very similar to the flu. Because of this, many people do not realize they have had carbon monoxide poisoning. The most common symptoms are: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
What can we do to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?
· Have your heating and water system (or anything serviced by gas) checked once a year for any problems by a qualified technician.
· Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors in your home and change the batteries at least once a year.
· Please seek medical attention or call 9-1-1 immediately if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.
· Do not use camp stoves, generators, grills or anything gasoline or charcoal-burning inside the home or garage.
· Never leave a vehicle running in the garage.
· Never heat your home with a gas oven
· Do not burn anything in a stove or fireplace without ventilation.
Remember, carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. Make sure to protect yourself and your family by being prepared and aware. If you think you might have carbon monoxide poisoning, please call the Poison Control Network at 1-800-222-1222. For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, please visit: http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/carbonmonoxide-factsheet.pdf
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