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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide (CO) is defined as, “An odorless, colorless gas that can kill you.” How quickly do our bodies respond to carbon monoxide? The CDC tells us, “Red blood cells pick up CO quicker than they pick up oxygen,” and “When you inhale carbon monoxide, your body replaces the oxygen in blood with carbon monoxide.” Carbon monoxide poisoning can progress quickly, and sometimes is hard to identify.

 

This toxic fume is produced through various modes of conduction, such as large home appliances. It is important to be aware of how harmful this gas can be for you and your family. The CDC reports that 400 people in the U.S. die from accidental carbon monoxide leaks and poisoning, every year. 

 

Carbon monoxide has no smell or taste to warn you, so CO poisoning can sneak up on you. Setting up a Carbon Monoxide Detector in your home will notify you of CO, and can give you and your family time to exit your home safely and call 911 to notify them of a CO leak. 

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Your Home

Following CDC guidelines for CO poisoning prevention will lessen the chances of CO poisoning occurring in your home and will protect you from the risks. Knowing the ways carbon monoxide can show up in your home is key. Make sure everyone in your family understands these precautions to reduce the probability of exposure to CO poisoning.

  • Have a professional check there is proper ventilation of your gas appliances in your home.
  • Schedule professional fireplace chimney inspections early to lessen the chance of debris build-up. 
  • Never use charcoal, portable gas stoves, or generators inside of your home for cooking or to heat your home, even if the windows are open.
  • Have a professional repair any leaks with proper materials and do not try to patch them yourself. 
  • Never leave your garage door closed when starting your vehicle as it can build-up carbon monoxide fumes.

 

Recognizing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms 

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), recognizing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can help save you or someone else’s life. The USFA has listed these symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of Breath

 

The higher the level of CO poisoning, the stronger the symptoms are, including:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Ultimately death

 

When ERC visits a client’s home, we inspect specifically to identify any carbon monoxide leaks and needed repairs. We also install carbon monoxide detectors in the homes we work on to ensure safety long after we are gone. 

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

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