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Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

​​​​​Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is one of the leading causes of unintentional poisoning deaths in the United States. CO
is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced whenever fuel or other organic materials are burned.

Why is this important?

Every year, exposure to Carbon Monoxide (CO) fumes results in more than 20,000 emergency room visits, 4,000 hospitalizations, and more than 400 deaths in the United States. The easiest and best way to reduce the risk of CO poisoning is to install and properly maintain a battery operated CO detector in your home.

What is known?​

CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it. Breathing CO in large amounts can lead to a loss of consciousness or death. People who are asleep, or under the influence of alcohol can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms. The symptoms of CO poisoning are described as being similar to the flu. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning include: 

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • upset stomach 
  • vomiting 
  • chest pain
  • confusion

Who is at risk?​

The risk for CO poisoning increases during power outages. People sometimes do things to restore power and stay warm that will make CO poisoning more likely, like using a gas range or grill to heat their home or installing emergency generators close to the home. These actions can cause CO to get inside and cause people to get sick. 

Reduce your risk:

  • Install a battery operated CO detector in your home - check and replace batteries twice a year
  • Have any gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a technician each year
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors
  • Make sure gas appliances are heated properly
  • Get your chimney checked or cleaned every year
  • Never patch a vent pipe with tape or gum
  • Never use a gas range for heating
  • Never burn charcoal inside
  • Never use a portable campstove indoors
  • Never use a generator inside your home​