There’s a reason carbon monoxide (also known as CO gas) is called the “silent killer.” This colorless, odorless gas kills at least 430 people in the U.S. every year and sends nearly 50,000 more to the emergency room
. The biggest danger with carbon monoxide poisoning is that the body replaces oxygen in your blood with carbon dioxide—if someone is sleeping, they won’t show any symptoms of distress. Your home should be a place of safety, that’s why we’re sharing a guide to carbon monoxide.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
No guide to carbon monoxide is complete without answering the most basic question. Carbon monoxide is a gas. It’s colorless, odorless and can cause sudden illness. CO gas is naturally created by fire burning in an enclosed space. Sources include your furnace, stove, any kerosene powered gadgets, gas lanterns and range, as well as charcoal and wood.
Fires naturally take oxygen out of the atmosphere and replaces it with carbon monoxide. While this usually isn’t a problem outdoors, imagine that gas level in an enclosed space like your kitchen. When humans or animals breathe in carbon monoxide, their red blood cells replace oxygen with CO gas, this can lead to poisoning.
What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can run the gamut from simple to severe. Some of the most common milder symptoms are:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Loss of breath
- Chest pain
Carbon monoxide can also have major consequences for a person’s mental state. If you believe carbon monoxide may be a factor in someone’s behavioral or mental shift
, here are some things to watch out for:
- Extreme mood swings
- Sudden clumsiness
- Confusion and flawed judgement
- Personality changes
- Vision problems
Unfortunately, there are also some long term effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. Prolonged exposure to CO gas can lead to some brain damage including memory issues and problems concentrating. It can additionally lead to permanent vision and hearing loss.
If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak in your home, or if you believe someone is experiencing these symptoms because of CO gas, do not wait to call emergency services. Treatment for CO poisoning is readily available, the patient just needs to get to the doctor on time.
How Can I keep Myself Safe?
Perhaps the most important part of this carbon monoxide guide is safety. There are ways to keep you, and your family, safe from carbon monoxide gas and poisoning. For your safety, and the safety of others in your home, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from CO poisoning is to schedule regular furnace tune-ups. At Bell Brothers, our HVAC technicians inspect every part of your furnace for function and safety. If they find any issues, they will bring it to your attention immediately.
Here are some other things you can do to make sure your home, and anyone in it, is safe from carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Install a carbon monoxide detector and make sure to replace the batteries every six months. Also, be sure to ask your HVAC tech where to place the detector. Hang it too high and you won’t know about a CO leak until it’s too late.
- If you experience a power outage, do not use any gas powered appliances to heat your home. This includes your stove, range, and oven.
- Do not burn charcoal inside
- Make sure any and all generators are outside, never run one in your home or garage.
- Never leave a car running in a garage connected to your home, even if the garage door is open.
Still Worried about CO Gas? The HVAC Experts at Bell Brothers are here.
Carbon monoxide is something that should not be taken lightly. Your best defense against CO gas is having an HVAC expert on speed dial. If you want to learn more about protecting your family from CO gasses and this guide to carbon monoxide wasn’t enough, schedule an appointment today. Call the number at the top of your screen or click here to book an appointment online