A Brief Introduction on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the most dangerous situations that you might ever potentially come into contact with. The problem is that most people don’t know that they are even around this gas because it is colorless and it has no odor. Furthermore, if frequently occurs in the one place where you feel the most comfortable and where you should be the safest, at home. As a result, a lot of the carbon monoxide exposure that people suffer comes virtually without warning and before anyone realizes that something is wrong, it is often too late. Therefore, it is imperative that every person recognizes this potential for danger and that they realize not only the sources of potential carbon monoxide poisoning, but also the symptoms associated with it. This will help you understand what you can do to stay safe, both inside your own home and everywhere else
The Potential for Danger
When it comes to carbon monoxide, the potential for danger is always there. In fact, it happens at home more than it happens anywhere else, as previously mentioned. According to the Centers for Disease Control, around 20,000 people was sent to the hospital because of carbon monoxide poisoning every year. Even more sobering is the fact that the agency reports there are approximately 400 deaths directly related to being exposed to this gas each year. The National Fire Protection Association states that almost 90% of the exposures happen inside the home, often to unsuspecting individuals who have no idea that a problem even exists.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
If you have a home that has gasoline or propane, you are at risk for experiencing carbon monoxide exposure. That means that you can be exposed to it if you have a gas water heater or a gas stove, or the heating system uses gas or propane in order to effectively heat the home. However, there are also other sources of carbon monoxide poisoning that can easily happen within the home. Many people are exposed to this gas when the power goes out for long periods of time, such as during an extended power failure during an ice storm. In order to keep warm or to cook, they utilize burners that would be used during a camping trip or worse yet, bring a gas-powered generator into the house. What they are doing is unknowingly exposing themselves and everyone else inside the structure to this potentially deadly gas. Even in homes that are run entirely on electric, carbon monoxide poisoning can still be a problem. There have been cases where lightning struck a roof during a storm, yet the house did not fully catch on fire due to downpour of rain associated with that storm. However, it allowed the area to smolder long enough to create carbon monoxide poisoning. Unfortunately, people have died from poisoning in exactly this fashion.
Know the Symptoms
Most people don’t realize that they are being exposed to carbon monoxide until it’s simply too late. It makes you tired and groggy, unable to think clearly and eventually, there is an overwhelming desire to lay down and go to sleep. If you start to notice that you have a headache or that your skin is flushed, you might be suffering from the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is especially true if everyone else in the home is experiencing the same problems. The best thing you can do if you suspect poisoning is to remove yourself from the structure entirely and call paramedics for assistance. You should also call the fire department to come out and find out what the problem is so that it can be remedied.
What You Can Do to Stay Safe
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to stay safe. The first thing you need to do is know the symptoms. This might give you the advantage that you need if you are exposed to carbon monoxide. The second is to have a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, even if your home is operated entirely on electric. Test them every 30 days and make sure they work. Finally, make sure that any appliances that you are using that do have gas or propane connections are operating properly and that no leaks exist. By taking these simple steps, you can help yourself and your family stay safe and recognize the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning ahead of time.