2012-01-25 / General Stories

Health Department: Carbon Monoxide Alert

With frigid outside temperatures, people shut and seal their windows, and turn up their heat, and during these cold winter months, carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings rise. Every year nearly 500 Americans are killed, and over 20,000 injuries occur, from CO poisoning. In fact, this odorless and colorless gas is the leading cause of poison-related deaths in the U.S. Most incidents occur in residential homes and usually faulty furnaces or motor vehicles are to blame.

The number-one prevention tip to protect you and your family is to install CO detectors. Even residents with “all-electric homes,” often use CO-emitting devices such as generators, automobiles, gas dryers and fireplaces. CO detectors are an inexpensive solution to a potentially deadly problem. Batteries typically should be changed twice a year.

The number-two prevention tip is to have your furnace serviced regularly by a professional. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends annual inspections and local gas and utility companies usually have similar recommendations.

CO is a tasteless, odorless, colorless gas, known as the “silent killer.” Symptoms of CO poisoning may include dizziness, shortness of breath, sleepiness, weakness, nausea and headache. If you suspect CO is leaking in your home or building, go outside immediately and call 911 from outside.



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