Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

Carbon Monoxide Dangers Increase as Temperatures Drop November 14, 2008

Filed under: health,motherhood — rjlacko @ 9:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

When we moved into our house almost two years ago, the home inspector warned us to place a carbon monoxide alarm in every bedroom–especially our son’s room and the nursery awaiting our second child. 

Carbon monoxide gas is lethal, and unlike smoke, it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. And, while smoke from a fire on the other side of the house is likely to be detected by a fire alarm, giving alert to evacuate, a small continuous leak of carbon monoxide can cause permanent damage to the brain and other parts of the nervous system. 

The onset of cold weather greatly increases the chances for exposure to poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) gas as consumers increase their use of appliances such as space heaters and portable generators, warns the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).  Every year, hundreds of deaths and many thousands of illnesses result from exposure to CO.

Among the numerous potential sources of CO are furnaces, water heaters, stoves, ovens, space heaters, wood and gas fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, portable generators and automobile engines.

The warning signs specific to carbon monoxide are also common to the flu and food poisoning. Symptoms include:

  • aches
  • dizziness
  • headache and/or confusion

“All fuel-powered engines produce CO gas,” explains Edward Krenzelok, PharmD, director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center.  “Although such devices are safe if used correctly, a malfunction or improper ventilation can make these common household appliances deadly.”  

AAPCC suggest taking some simple steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Hire a professional to inspect and adjust all of combustion appliances and especially the furnace before every heating season.
  • Hire a professional to inspect your chimney, fireplace, wood stoves, and flues before every heating season.
  • Repair chimneys and flues as needed.
  • Do not use charcoal grills indoors for cooking or heating.
  • Do not use your oven for heating your home.
  • Do not leave your car’s engine running in an enclosed or attached garage, even if the door is open.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm outside of every sleeping area in your home.

Poison control centers around the country are prepared to respond with information and treatment advice about CO poisoning. To reach a local poison center call 1-800-222-1222. More information about CO poisoning may be found on the AAPCC’s Website.

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2 Responses to “Carbon Monoxide Dangers Increase as Temperatures Drop”

  1. Josh Maxwell Says:

    I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

  2. rjlacko Says:

    Thanks, Josh! Please let me know if there is any specific topic you would like me to cover, or if you would me to revisit a post topic by elaborating.


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