Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, odorless toxic gas that is produced
anytime fuel or carbon-based materials are burned. According to the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, over 400 individuals
die from accidental CO poisoning while over 20,000 are taken to the room
and 4,000 are hospitalized. Since the majority of the population owns
some type of equipment that burns fuel including cars, grills, furnaces,
and more, everyone is at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Small amounts of CO can cause flu-like symptoms including:
- Persistent headache
- Feeling dizzy
- Upset stomach
- Chest pain
Inhaling large amounts of CO, on the other hand, can make you pass out
or even kill you. That is why it is important to seek treatment if you
have inhaled or suspect that you are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Do You Need Carbon Monoxide Monitors in Your Home?
Installing carbon monoxide monitors is a great way to safeguard your home
if the presence of CO cannot be prevented. This device can sense the presence
of CO in your indoor air and sounds an alarm to warn you.
Families who own at least one of the following equipment should consider
getting CO monitors:
- Furnaces, boilers, or fireplace powered by oil
- Wood or wood-burning products such as woodstove, fireplace, etc.
- Natural gas appliances including furnaces, cooking stoves, water heaters, etc.
- Products that use gas or diesel
If your work or business involves running vehicles in a poorly ventilated
space, you should also consider installing a monitor in that area.
Finding the Right Monitor for Your Home
There are several carbon monoxide monitors that are available in the market
today. When selecting one for your home, make sure that you choose a unit
that is easy to understand and operate by anyone in your household.
Below are some important tips in purchasing a CO monitor:
- Look for a monitor with high accuracy level
- Make sure that it is listed with Underwriters Laboratory or UL
- Choose one with a clear digital display and has a peak level memory feature
- Opt for a battery-operated or a plug-in with battery back-up
You should also be able to determine the number of units that you need
for your home. Depending on the size of your house and the carbon-based
appliances you own, you may need more than one or two units for your home.
Install at least one unit on every floor and in sleeping areas, but make
sure that the alarms are at least 15 feet away from any cooking or heating
appliances that can cause false alarms. Maintain your CO monitors by regularly
replacing the batteries and ensuring that they are still accurate.
In the event that the alarm goes off, do not panic. Gather every person
in your household and exit immediately. Call 911 and have yourself and
your family checked at a hospital for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
This article contains general information about medical conditions and
treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as
such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis
of a physician.
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should
consult your doctor or other professional healthcare providers.