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Carbon monoxide poisoning: How to prevent the silent killer



According to the National Security Council, more than 400 Americans die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning each year. Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer because it is odorless, colorless, tasteless and can easily be undiscovered. When the cold temperatures start to hit, what's the first thing we do? We turn our ovens on to warm our home and close our windows. If your furnace emits poisonous gases, drop them into your house. Here are some things you do to prevent this silent and deadly killer.

First, it is important that your oven is inspected and serviced annually. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that we install battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors near all areas of the home that are used to sleep and check regularly to make sure they work properly [19659040].

CDC shares additional ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure:

  • Do not use a generator, charcoal grill or other gasoline / coal-fired unit in your home, basement, garage or near a window.
  • Do not drive your vehicle inside a secured garage, even if the garage door is open.
  • Avoid burning anything in an unheated stove or fireplace.
  • Do not heat your home with a gas oven.
  • Avoid using a generator, power plate, or any other gasoline engine less than 20 meters from any window, outlet or door.

Poisoning symptoms may act as flu and cause headache, nausea and dizziness and can not occur until hours after exposure. If it is not detected, the exposure will continue to build in your system. As the gases build up, the symptoms become stronger and appear faster. Many deaths occur while you sleep as the symptoms go undetected. It is important to keep you, your family and the pet safely by taking the necessary precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. If you think you have been exposed to these toxic gases, contact your doctor immediately! Your life depends on it!

More information on how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning can be found in the following resources.

[1] National Security Council. "Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Killer".

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning." October 29, 2018.

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