You may have heard about the dangers of carbon monoxide or heard stories of people affected by it. What exactly are the dangers and how do you know if you or someone you know has carbon monoxide poisoning?
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels like kerosene, wood, and charcoal, among others. Often there is no issue and this gas is created and eradicated properly, but if there is a leak with a malfunctioning appliance or a broken pipe, it will leak out and cause harm.
What are the symptoms?
If you have poisoning, the symptoms might go unnoticed or assigned to some other cause. The symptoms are very similar to the flu, so people think they have the flu and don’t suspect anything else. Unfortunately, these symptoms are short-term and if left unchecked, could lead to long-term issues.
Issues as a result of damage and carbon monoxide poisoning range from memory or cognitive problems, heart problems, and major organ dysfunction. The most severe issue is death and almost 200 people die each year from poisoning.
How can I prevent this?
The best way is to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. This detector is very similar to a smoke alarm, and many homes already come with them. Make sure to test your alarm and ensure batteries are replaced regularly.
Do not run appliances like generators or automotive vehicles in an enclosed area without proper ventilation. Ensure that every appliance using the fuels described above, like kerosene and charcoal are functioning properly and according to the manufacturing instructions.
If you suspect poisoning, the first thing to do is get to fresh air immediately and call the fire department. They are equipped to handle the issue so you can fix it.