Wintertime’s silent killer, carbon monoxide poisoning, is on the loose. Read on to ensure your and your family’s safety.
Each year, the number of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning incidents increase especially during the colder months. According to the Department of Health, about two-thirds of the reported victims are poisoned by CO from fuel-burning sources such as heaters.
All about carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a dangerous gas that can cause sudden illness and death. Often referred to as a silent killer, its presence is barely noticeable because of its colorless, tasteless, odorless, and non-irritating properties. This CO gas is produced any time fuels such as natural gas, propane, gasoline, and coal are burned.
The common sources of CO at home include appliances like space and water heaters, non-electric stoves and ranges, furnaces, and gas or charcoal grills. Portable generators, automobiles, and fuel-powered tools and equipment like lawn mowers, snow blowers, chain saws, and pressure-washers also emit carbon monoxide.
Symptoms of CO poisoning
When CO is breathed in, it attaches to hemoglobin, the molecule in the blood that delivers oxygen throughout the body. CO poisons the body by interfering with the body’s ability to get enough oxygen. What’s alarming is how the initial symptoms of CO poisoning mimic that of flu – headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, chest pain and tightness, shortness of breath, and fast heartbeat. At times, blurry vision and seizures also occur.
How to ensure your safety
Just recently, an Arizona family’s death caused by carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning has reached the headlines. They are believed to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to a significant failure in their friend’s cabin’s heating system.
To protect your family, here are tips on how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home: