Often called the silent killer, Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless,odorless, and tasteless gas, formed when fuels do not burn completely. Carbon monoxide (CO) is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America (Journal of the American Medical Association). Over 600 Americans die each year due to accidental acute CO poisoning and some medical researchers even speculate that chronic low level CO exposure has been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs).
“Common symptoms of low level CO exposure are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, confusion, shortness of breath and fatigue,” reports Brendan Reid, with the Comfort Institute. “Because moderate CO exposure symptoms may mimic those of a flu, doctors often misdiagnose CO poisoning. In one Kentucky study, nearly one-fourth of hospital emergency room patients complaining of the flu were actually suffering from CO poisoning.”
Many reports find that acute high level exposure, or chronic long-term exposure to low levels of CO can cause permanent brain damage and neurological damage. It can also compound many health problems including:
- Heart disease
· Lung disease
· Learning/concentration problems
CO poisoning doesn’t affect everyone the same way: Children, pregnant women and the elderly are the most affected as are people with chronic medical conditions. Also, family members who spend most of the day in a CO contaminated home will accumulate the poison in their blood and can become progressively more ill than those who are able to get out of the home regularly and purge it from their bodies. With winter on its way, we all spend more time indoors and use CO-producing devices more heavily.
CO poisoning is PREVENTABLE! Here are a few tips to protect you and your family from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide:
To make sure your family is protected CI recommends that your install a low level CO monitor. Retail monitors that you can purchase can protect from large quantities of CO entering your home, however these alarms will let you know if low level of CO is present. A retail alarm does not need to go into alarm until exposed to 70 ppm for four consecutive hours or 35 ppm for 31 consecutive days. While they can protect from death they do not protect from the poor health issues attributed to CO.
Ask us today about LOW-LEVEL CO Monitors and CO testing for your home!
Never leave a car idling in the garage, even if the overhead door is open
· Install a small exhaust fan in the garage andset it to run continuously
· Have your gas/oil furnace, boiler and/or water heater cleaned, tuned and maintained each year to ensure that they are burning cleanly and that they are properly vented to the outside
· Ask an HVAC professional to perform a test to analyze CO levels in your home
· If you have a gas range in your kitchen, be sureto install and use a kitchen exhaust fan that vents to the outdoors
· Check the batteries in your CO alarm/monitor
· If your CO alarm/monitor is more than 2 years old, it may not work properly – if it is more than 4 years old, it needs to be replaced
· Make sure you have a LOW-LEVEL CO monitor installed
- Heart disease