Can carbon monoxide kill you? Indeed, it can. Roughly 400 people die every year in America from exposure to carbon monoxide, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 20,000 earn themselves a hospital visit from inhaling these combustion fumes, and 4,000 people are hospitalized each year — all due to exposure to the invisible, tasteless, odorless gas we call carbon monoxide.
How Can Carbon Monoxide Kill You?
When you spend too much time in an enclosed area where too much carbon monoxide is present, your body begins switching out the oxygen in your blood with this noxious gas. As a result, you can suffocate without realizing you were even in danger. Because there’s no bad smell and no foul taste, it’s impossible to detect carbon monoxide without proper equipment. That’s why Protect America recommends carbon monoxide detectors as a part of your whole home security plan.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often mimic fatigue or the flu, which is why it’s often overlooked as a cause for serious concern. Symptoms include:
- Blurry Vision
- Loss of consciousness
Many of these could likely be attributed to an exhausting day, a mild case of whatever bug is going around, or having eaten something for lunch that didn’t agree with you. Most people don’t immediately think they’re being poisoned when their head begins to thump, or they suffer a bout of vertigo. But if the conditions are right, this is a miscalculation that could injure you and everyone in your home. Even short exposure can be deadly. According to Harvard Health,
“Death can result from only a few minutes of exposure to higher concentrations or from an hour of exposure to lower levels.”
Carbon monoxide is a swift, silent, and deadly killer that coaxes you gently into a sleep from which you may never awaken.
How Do You Become Exposed to Carbon Monoxide?
Many sources may vent carbon monoxide into your home, and it’s impossible to be constantly aware of each issue.
Gas appliances such as stoves, clothes dryers and more can vent carbon monoxide into your home if they malfunction or if their vents become blocked. Even wood-burning stoves pose a huge risk, especially when installed in small spaces such as mobile homes or campers.
It’s vital to service and clean your home’s fireplaces at least annually. Build-up in chimneys may make it impossible for harmful gases to escape properly, venting then into your home instead.
An attached garage is convenient, especially in winter. But if you leave a car, truck, motorcycle or other gas-powered vehicle running in your garage, noxious fumes could enter your home as a result.
A gas furnace can malfunction and vent carbon monoxide into your home, which is why it’s important to have yours serviced and cleaned regularly. Maintaining the gas-operated systems in your home is the first step in preventing accidental poisoning by carbon monoxide.
For an investment of just dollars, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Contact Protect America today for more information on the ease of installing detectors in every sleeping area and level of your home.
How Can You Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Fumes from gas-powered engines, fire, and smoke all contain carbon monoxide. Mild exposure can make you very ill, and lethal exposure can end your life. The best form of protection is prevention. Protect America recommends taking the following precautions to help prevent a trip to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Have all gas-powered appliances installed only by professionals, and have them professionally cleaned and serviced according to their recommended schedules.
- Clean and inspect chimneys at least annually.
- Never burn wood or charcoal indoors without proper ventilation. Keep gas-powered generators outside.
- Have an escape route from every room in case of fire.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in designated areas. Use high-quality batteries, and test them frequently.
- Before starting your car, make sure your garage door is open.
- Use solvents only outside or in well-ventilated areas, as some may break down, releasing carbon monoxide in the process.
It’s often simple mistakes that lead to the most severe consequences. Putting off a maintenance call or forgetting to open a door or a window in a room where you’re using a kerosene space heater can have deadly consequences. That’s why carbon monoxide detectors are must-have items for homeowners who want to protect themselves and their families from harm.
Who Is Most At-Risk for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Anyone can become exposed to carbon monoxide, but this gas poses a greater risk to people who have heart conditions or respiratory issues, people who are intoxicated, the elderly, unborn babies, and children. Strong-enough exposure can cause seizure, coma, and death.
If you’ve overlooked the necessity of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, give Protect America a call today, and we’ll help you find a solution that fits you, your home, and your budget. Don’t let your family become dismal statistics in the war against carbon monoxide poisoning. Reach out today, so you can breathe easier tonight.