Carbon Monoxide Safety
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause death. Every year, more than 400 Americans die from CO poisoning, and 4,000 are hospitalized.
Where is CO found?
CO is produced by fuel burning appliances and engines, such as furnaces, fireplaces, hot water heaters, ranges and vehicles. CO poisoning is caused by inhaling combustion gases. Although everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, children and older adults are more susceptible.
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” Although everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, children and older adults are more susceptible. CO poisoning is caused by inhaling combustion gases. When CO accumulates in the air you breathe, your body replaces oxygen with CO.
How can I prevent CO poisoning?
- Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery at least once a year (some people choose to do this at time change each spring and fall), and replace your detector every five years. Put the detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. A detector with a digital readout is a good option because it can tell you the highest level of CO concentration.
- Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Do not leave your vehicle running in a garage.