Carbon Monoxide

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a silent threat; it is tasteless and odorless, but can cause serious consequences, even death. Carbon monoxide in homes is most often the result of improper use of water heaters, gas or oil heaters, furnaces, and ovens.

Checklist for Heating Season

  • Check for blockages in your chimney and flue. Check also for rust or loose connections.
  • Make sure heating appliances and furnaces are installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Make sure there is an adequate fresh air supply to your furnace.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Get away from the source immediately if you recognize any of the symptoms in yourself or your family members.
  • Never burn charcoal inside.
  • Never leave space heaters on overnight. Do not keep them in the bedroom or any room in which you sleep.
  • Never use an oven as a heater in your home.
  • Watch for cracks on heat exchangers on furnaces.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Vision problems

In some severe cases, symptoms can last for weeks or months. Some cases may even result in permanent brain or heart damage, or death. Those most at risk of serious effects or fatality from carbon monoxide are very young children / babies, the elderly, and people with lung disease.

What To Do If You Suspect Carbon Monoxide Exposure

If you feel that there is a possibility you are being affected by carbon monoxide, immediately go outside for fresh air. See your doctor immediately and let them know that you believe you may have carbon monoxide poisoning. Once the carbon monoxide has been flushed from the body with oxygen, most people will recover completely.