The silent killer. That is what people say when they refer to carbon monoxide. You don’t have any warning signs as there is no smell, taste, or sound. Not even animals can detect it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 400 Americans die every year from accidental CO poisoning that is not caused by fires. There are more than 20,000 emergency room visits, and over 4,000 hospitalizations.
One of the first things you should do in your home, if you haven’t already, is install a carbon monoxide alarm.
Symptoms you should be aware of include:
- Flu like symptoms without the fever
- Loss of balance
- Vision problems
- Memory problems
- Eventual loss of consciousness
If a person has a heart or respiratory issue, they may be affected at a quicker rate than someone that is healthier. Also at higher risk are pregnant women, babies, and small children. Your pets will also react quickly.
Causes in your house may include:
- Fires of any sort
- Central heating systems
- Blocked chimneys
Hospital treatment includes 100 percent oxygen delivered through a mask, to speed up the production of oxyhemoglobin. If exposure to CO has been extensive, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may be offered. This treatment floods the blood with pure oxygen, to compensate for the lack of oxygen caused by the CO gas poisoning.
You can be proactive though.
- Make sure your appliances are in good working order.
- Do not heat your home with gas ranges or ovens.
- Make sure all rooms are well ventilated.
- Have chimneys and flues swept at least once a year.
- Be careful when using gas-powered tools and equipment inside rooms.
- Wear a mask when using products that contain methylene chloride.
- Do not leave a gasoline-powered motor running in an enclosed area.
- Do not use charcoal on an indoor barbecue.
- Never use a generator within 20 feet of an opening to the home.
- Service the exhaust pipe in a motor vehicle every year.
- If the tailgate of a vehicle is open and the engine is running, open the doors and windows too.
We want to make sure you are as safe as possible. Your first action step should be to install that carbon monoxide alarm in all rooms/floors of your home if you don’t already have one.
If we can help you in any way here at John Scott Insurance Agency, please let us know!