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Carbon Monoxide Poisioning

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Poisoning from Carbon Monoxide Image - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MichiganCarbon monoxide is all around us; our fireplaces, stoves, furnaces, cars, and even our backyard grills all produce this gas. While modern appliances are designed to safely vent dangerous carbon monoxide gas, it is important for homeowners to understand the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning in case it occurs.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. Because it is impossible to detect without a specialized carbon monoxide detector, the dangerous gas is often called the “silent killer”.

What causes carbon monoxide gas?

Carbon monoxide gas is naturally created in all combustion reactions. Burning wood, gas, coal, pellets, and other heating sources all create carbon monoxide gas; many household appliances create carbon monoxide gas that then safely vents to the outside. While fuel burning appliances are designed to be safe for household use, damage, venting problems, or improper use can cause carbon monoxide gas to build up. Exposure to carbon monoxide gas can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Because detecting carbon monoxide gas without a special detector is virtually impossible, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning creates flu-like symptoms. When exposed to carbon monoxide gas, many people will begin experiencing headaches, nausea, and sleepiness. As exposure continues, symptoms will continue to worsen to include decreased coordination, cognitive impairment, and vision problems. Without intervention, continued exposure can lead to coma and even death.

If you believe that you or your family are experiencing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to move to a fresh air environment such as outdoors or an open door or window as quickly as possible. Emergency services should also be called to evaluate the levels of carbon monoxide gas before reentering the home.

How can I prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

While homeowners should understand the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, there are a number of ways to reduce your risk of exposure to this dangerous gas. below are five ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

  1. Install carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors are specially designed to alert you and your family to the presence of carbon monoxide gas. Install detectors on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. Detectors should be tested every six months and replaced every 7-10 years in order to meet modern safety standards.
  2. Run generators outdoors. Generators should always be run outdoors; putting them in basements, crawl spaces, garages, sheds, or outbuildings can cause carbon monoxide to build up.
  3. Open a window. If you use supplemental heaters in your home in the winter, consider opening a nearby window when they are in use. This is especially important for vent free fireplaces and heaters.
  4. Warm up cars outside. As tempting as it can be on cold winter days, cars should never be allowed to idle in the garage – even when the door is open. Instead, pull them into the driveway before warming up the car.
  5. Have your chimney inspected. An annual chimney inspection ensures your fireplace system is undamaged and venting safely.