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Carbon Mono-oxide Poisoning

Intro

If you have any of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, go to a hospital emergency department, particularly if several people in the household are affected, or if pets are affected as well.

Self-Care at Home
  • Move all family members and pets to fresh air away from the source of carbon monoxide (CO).
  • No home therapy is available for carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • You must seek medical care in a hospital emergency department.
Prevention

Your best protection is to install a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of your home or boat as your first line of defense. According to the National Fire Protection Association some 93% of homes have smoke alarms, yet the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that only 15% have carbon monoxide alarms. A carbon monoxide monitor with an audible alarm works much like a home smoking alarm and beeps loudly when the sensors detect carbon monoxide.

If the alarm sounds, evacuate the building. People who have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should seek emergency medical care. Call the fire department or public service company to investigate.

Inspect your home for hazards.

Your home heating system, chimney, and flue must be inspected and cleaned by a qualified technician every year. Keep chimneys clear of bird and squirrel nests, leaves, and residue to ensure proper ventilation.

Be sure your furnace and other appliances, such as gas ovens, ranges, and cook tops, are inspected for adequate ventilation.

Do not burn charcoal inside your house (even in the fireplace). Have gas fireplaces inspected each fall to ensure the pilot light burns safely.

Do not operate gasoline-powered engines in confined areas such as garages or basements. Do not leave your car, mower, or other vehicle running in an attached garage, even with the door open.

Do not block or seal shut exhaust flues or ducts for appliances such as water heaters, ranges, and clothes dryers.

Become familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning and boating (please see Web Links section).

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