What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be mild to life-threatening. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can be similar to the flu and often include headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, and fatigue. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, confusion, irritability, and in the most severe case, unconsciousness and death.
Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms become more severe as the level of carbon monoxide increases and/or the length of exposure continues.
If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect that carbon monoxide may be a factor, get out of the house immediately and call 911. The Fire Department has a special meter to determine if there are high levels of carbon monoxide and they attempt to locate the problem. If carbon monoxide is determined to be the problem, the source of the carbon monoxide must be eliminated before you can return to your home.
How Can I Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
The proper maintenance and use of fuel-burning appliances is essential to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. Every property owner, property manager, or landlord should:
- Check all appliances that use natural gas, oil, wood or kerosene. These include water heaters, clothes dryers, ranges, ovens, gas-powered refrigerators, and portable heaters.
- Check all of your ventilation systems such as flues, chimneys, and fireplaces for cracks and blockages.
- Ensure that household appliances are installed and running correctly. Have a professional technician check fuel-burning appliances, furnaces, chimneys and vents at least annually for blockages, corrosion, debris and faulty connections.
- Make sure space heaters are vented properly.
- Never burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent.
- Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even if the garage door is open.
- Never operate generators indoors.
- Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in a room with closed doors or windows or in rooms where people are sleeping.
- Never use gasoline-powered tools and engines indoors.
- Never use gas-powered appliances such as an oven or clothes dryer for heating a home.
- Use a professional and licensed contractor to service fuel-burning appliances and equipment.
Additional information about carbon monoxide poisoning is available through the National Fire Protection Association