What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that comes from burning oil, kerosene, wood, coal or natural gas. Any time there is an open flame, carbon monoxide is being made.
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
The symptoms of CO poisoning are flu-like, except there is no fever. Early symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
What should I do if I think I have these symptoms?
If you think you have any of the symptoms of CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors for more ventilation, turn off any combustion appliances, and leave the house. Call your fire department and report your symptoms. You could lose consciousness and die if you do nothing. Contact a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis. Tell your doctor that you suspect CO poisoning is causing your problems. Prompt medical attention is important if you are experiencing any symptoms of CO poisoning when you are operating fuel-burning appliances.
How can I prevent CO poisoning?
- Make sure the appliances in your home are installed according to manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by professionals. Have the heating system (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced every year.
- Install a CO detector/alarm that meets the federal standards. A carbon monoxide detector/alarm can provide added protection, but is no substitute for proper use and upkeep of appliances that can produce CO. Install a CO detector/alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home. Make sure the detector cannot be covered up by furniture or draperies.
- Never burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
- Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
- Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.
- Never service fuel-burning appliances without proper knowledge, skills, and tools. Always refer to the owner’s manual when performing minor adjustments or servicing fuel-burning appliances.
- Never use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers for heating your home.
- Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances, including generators, in any room with closed doors or windows or in any room where people are sleeping.
- Do not use gasoline-powered tools, engines, or generators indoors. If use is unavoidable, ensure that adequate ventilation is available and whenever possible place engine unit to exhaust outdoors.
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