Carbon monoxide is often called the silent killer and sadly, it is responsible for many deaths across the nation every year. Fortunately, you can protect your family from this hidden danger with a bit of knowledge and some preventative measures.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is the byproduct of combustion. Cars, trucks, and small gas engines all produce carbon monoxide. Any type of burning, however, can produce this dangerous gas. In fact, burning charcoal, wood, gas ranges, and even heating systems all create carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide can build up during the operation of any appliance that uses combustion. Keep in mind that this buildup doesn’t only happen in tightly sealed places. In fact, a semi-enclosed space with some ventilation can easily reach dangerous levels of this CO!
What happens with carbon monoxide exposure?
Prolonged exposure can lead to sudden illness and even death. This happens because your red blood cells grab CO much quicker than it does oxygen. When this happens, the oxygen in your blood is replaced by poisonous carbon monoxide.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. The longer the exposure, the worse the symptoms will become. High levels of this gas can quickly cause loss of consciousness and death. This is why CO is so dangerous. When you’re sleeping, you will not experience any of the early symptoms and may may never know your life is in danger.
What can you do to protect your family?
One of the most important things you can do to protect your family is place CO detectors throughout your home. These devices detect the poisonous gas in very small amounts and alert you to the danger. These units are easy to use–you simply plug them into an outlet. You’ll want one in every room, in common areas, and in the hall near your bedrooms. Just like smoke detectors, make sure you periodically check them for proper operation.
You might also want to have a professional examine your home to ensure that you have adequate ventilation near all appliances that might produce this dangerous gas. If they find an issue, they can help you solve the problem and avoid a potentially deadly situation.