Danger: Odorless, Colorless, Tasteless Gas in Your Home

You cannot see it. You cannot smell it. You cannot taste it. It can seep into your living room, your kitchen even your bedrooms without you or your family ever knowing it. It can have tragic consequences. Carbon monoxide kills.

The statistics are startling. The tragedies are numbing. But Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be prevented and the gas can be detected. You just need to know the signs, symptoms and most importantly, how to protect yourself and your family.

Carbon Monoxide is a toxic gas that is produced by fuel-fired furnaces (non-electric), gas water heaters, fireplaces, chimney flues and woodstoves, gas stoves, gas dryers, charcoal grills, lawnmowers, snow blowers and other yard equipment and automobiles.

Because it very slowly cuts off oxygen to vital organs and cells in the body, it produces symptoms at lower levels of poisoning that are similar to common ailments like the cold or flu. The effects may be mild headaches, shortness of breath or nausea. Higher levels of poisoning bring on more severe symptoms — mental confusion, dizziness, pounding headaches, even fainting.

And if there is not adequate ventilation in a home, garage or space, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause unconsciousness and ultimately death.

So what do you do? According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, you should have your fuel-burning appliances inspected by a qualified technician each year. You should also install life-saving carbon monoxide detectors in your home or living space. The Commission recommends placing a detector on each sleeping floor and one in the area of any major gas burning appliances such as the furnace or water heater. In general, detectors are most effective placed high — on or near the ceiling. For proper placement within an area follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully.

Now, if you or your family have been experiencing chronic flu-like symptoms and headaches with no apparent cause, see your doctor and ask him if it could be low-level CO poisoning.

And if the carbon monoxide detector alarm does goes off in your home, quickly open windows and doors to ventilate the house with fresh air. Then, most definitely, have your heating system and appliances checked by a professional.

If the alarm does go off and you’re experiencing dizziness, nausea or drowsiness, get out of the home immediately and call 911 from a neighbor’s house. You may need medical attention.

Just beware, carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless and it can be leaking from a multitude of fuel-burning places in your home or living space. Take the time and spend the money to protect yourself and your family. It will be time and money well spent.

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