Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, orderless gas that can kill. It is produced when incomplete combustion of fossil fuels or hydrocarbons take place. The gas kills because a person can breathe in the gas into their system without knowing. What follows is sleep, carbon monoxide poisoning and ultimately death. The most popular sources of carbon monoxide include: automobiles that burn either diesel or petrol, stoves and furnaces that use heating oil, grills, lanterns and any other item that works by burning hydrocarbons. Since the gas is colorless and odorless, every high-risk establishment needs a carbon monoxide detector.
Symptoms of CO Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning comes with flu-like symptoms. The symptoms include: dizziness, headache, stomach upsets, chest pain, vomiting, weakness and confusion among others. It is important to note that people who are either drunk or sleeping can die without ever experiencing any symptoms when exposed to high concentrations of carbon monoxide. On the other hand, those who are awake simply pass out after breathing in a lot of carbon monoxide gas.
High Risk Groups
Individuals who have anemia, breathing problems, chronic heart disease, the elderly and infants are at high risk of CO poisoning. In the United States, over 20,000 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are reported every year. Four thousand of these cases lead to hospitalization while 400 are fatal.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Home
While CO poisoning may have serious consequences, prevention is actually very easy. The following tips will help you prevent CO poisoning at home:
– Install a state-of-the-art carbon monoxide detector that has a battery back-up.
– Make sure heating appliances, such as stoves and furnaces, are well vented. This will prevent accumulation of carbon monoxide in the room.
– Have your heating systems checked and serviced by a qualified contractor on a regular basis.
– Never burn charcoal indoors.
– Never run a petrol or diesel generator indoors
– Never use portable chemical heaters that are flame-less indoors.
Proper ventilation of your home and car as well as putting in place protective devices and sensors, such as CO detectors, may also be very helpful. Call us for all heating and air conditioning needs.