Carbon Monoxide Dangers


Each year, an average of 430 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and there are more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room with more than 4,000 hospitalizations.

Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used dangerously indoors during power outages.

NEVER use a generator, grill, camp stove, or charcoal-burning device inside or in any partially enclosed area; keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.

If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh-air location outdoors or by an open window or door. From the fresh-air location call or text 9-1-1 for help, and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

Know the symptoms of CO poisoning

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission
Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

  • High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

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