Practical Ways to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless flammable gas that forms through incomplete carbon combustion.

In a typical household setting, carbon monoxide is often emitted by heaters, appliances, and automobiles that run on natural gas, oil, wood, or propane. Because carbon monoxide is tasteless, it’s hard to determine if there is carbon monoxide leakage in a household and that’s where the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning starts. From 1999 to 2010, there were 5,149 deaths recorded from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in the US alone. This illustrates how dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning is!

When inhaled, carbon monoxide inhibits the blood’s natural ability to transport oxygen to the organs. Children are vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning because the little ones breathe much faster than adults do. This hastens the spread of carbon monoxide within their body. When left untreated, carbon monoxide poisoning could lead to death.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting
  • Confusion

Long-term exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning could include severe lung damage, brain damage, memory loss, personality change,or death.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Always Check Your Home Appliances for Leaks

The best way to prevent accidents is to minimize the chances of it happening. To avoid gas leaks, always make sure all appliances that run on gas or oil are checked and maintained regularly. Don’t gamble your family’s health by using a broken down system. Replace all home appliances that are broken to prevent accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Have Your Appliances Checked by a Professional

You can only do so much to prevent gas leaks in the home. To be on the safe side, hire a professional to check your heating system, your water heater, and other appliances you have in your home that runs on gas, oil,or coal.

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

In Canada, all homes are required to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in places that are prone to gas leaks. It pays to install carbon monoxide detectors in and around your home especially if you have kids.

Don’t Leave Your Car Running

One of the most common sources of carbon monoxide emission is to have a vehicle left running nearby. Always power off your vehicle. Do not leave your car running in the garage, even if you left the door open. The gas could seep into crevices and cracks and make their way into your home.

Improve Home Ventilation

Poor ventilation and gas leaks make a very dangerous combination that often result in fatal outcomes. Do not risk carbon monoxide poisoning with a poorly ventilated living space. You can hire a professional to assess the ventilation in your home or clean the vents manually to ensure that air is free flowing in and out of your home.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

If you or a member of your family is feeling faint, lightheaded, and nauseous—and you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning—call for medical help immediately. Every second counts in gas poisoning, it’s important to rush the patient to the nearest hospital to minimize the damage caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.


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