The Quiet Killer The Quiet Killer
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention
Every winter when the temperature drops, your furnace can become a silent killer. Gas- and oil-burning furnaces produce carbon monoxide (CO). CO is an invisible, odorless, poison gas that kills hundreds every year and makes thousands more sick.
Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 7th. As you prepare to set your clocks back one hour, remember to change the batteries in your CO detector. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO alarm, now is a great time to buy one. Every year, more than 400 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning.
CO is found in fumes produced by furnaces, portable generators, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.
How to Recognize CO Poisoning
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms.
Important CO Poisoning Prevention Tips Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home. Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage. Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine outside an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area. Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines. Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper. If conditions are too hot or too cold, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter. If CO poisoning is suspected, consult a health care professional right away.
CO poisoning is entirely preventable. You can protect yourself and your family by acting wisely in case of a power outage and learning the symptoms of CO poisoning.