Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning is the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the United States. With the proper prevention, the threat can be minimized. Here are some important facts to promote awareness and minimize risks associated with Carbon Monoxide.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
· Carbon Monoxide is produced when a fuel is burned such as gas, kerosene, oil, charcoal or wood.
· Carbon Monoxide is both colorless and odorless, making it difficult to detect without an alarm.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide in the home:
· Carbon Monoxide accumulates when combustion gases cannot exit the home properly.
· Blocked chimneys, rusted heat exchanger, a broken chimney flue or idling engines in a garage may all cause CO to enter a home.
· Unvented combustion appliances such as fuel-burning space heaters, stoves and indoor charcoal grills also present a greater risk.
Signs of high levels of Carbon Monoxide in the home:
· Rusting or streaking on chimney or vent.
· Excessive moisture or condensation inside the room or on the windows.
· Internal appliance damage or malfunctioning.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning symptoms:
· Flu-like symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, fatigue, disorientation and vomiting.
· Symptoms disappear or regress when you leave the home.
· Roommates/Housemates are having similar symptoms.
· If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, get fresh air and seek immediate medical attention.
Carbon Monoxide prevention:
· Carbon Monoxide alarms are vital in avoiding CO exposure and are commonly available. If you live off campus, it is recommended that you install a Carbon Monoxide detector or speak with your landlord to ensure that one is installed. A limited number of detectors are available from Panther Central for just $15 each.
· If you feel you may have been exposed to high levels of Carbon Monoxide, get fresh air, seek immediate medical attention, and inform the property manager/landlord ASAP.
For further information please visit the following websites.
American Lung Association: www.stateoftheair.org
Consumer Product Safety Commission: www.cpsc.gov
Environmental Protection Agency: www.epa.gov/iaq
Healthy Indoor Air for America’s Homes: www.healthyindoorair.org