Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide DetectorDuring the winter months, make sure your family is safe from Carbon Monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that kills over 400 people a year.  CO is produced by fuel like coal, natural gas, oil, charcoal, kerosene and propane.  Equipment and appliances — like room heaters, water heaters, portable generators, lawn mowers, power washers, and cars — can produce CO.  Most CO deaths unrelated to fires occur during November, December, January and February when people use furnaces and turn to gas generators for back-up power. [1][2]

The symptoms for CO exposure may feel like the flu, and include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatiguebigstock-Modern-stove-isolated-on-white-20435762
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath [2][3]

Symptoms of poisoning by high levels of CO may occur without experiencing the above symptoms, and include:

  • Mental confusion
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death [3]

Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Install battery-powered or plug-in CO alarms with a battery back-up on every floor, in the hallway near bedrooms, and in each sleeping area
  • Before turning on the furnace or using the chimney, have them checked by a professional to ensure they are working properly
  • Make sure all appliances are installed correctly and working properly
  • Do not use gas appliances like a stove, oven, or dryer to heat your house
  • Do not run a generator in the house or in the garage or in a crawl space
  • Keep generators outside and away from open windows or doors and don’t run them on a porch or close to the house
  • Never leave a car on in the garage, even if the garage door is open
  • Never burn charcoal inside a tent, house, or car [1],[2]

Portable Generator


[1] “Protect Your Family from Deadly Carbon Monoxide This Winter,” CPSC Blogger, October 30, 2014 (viewed 11/10/14)

[2] “Carbon Monoxide Questions and Answers,”  U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (viewed 11/10/14)

[3] “The ‘Invisible’ Killer,” U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (viewed 11/10/14)


–Janell Mayo Duncan

COPYRIGHT©2014 by Living Well Black, Inc.

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