Carbon monoxide (CO) is a dangerous gas produced when heating systems are not working correctly. It is a poisonous, colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that is produced from the incomplete burning of fuels that contain carbon such as wood, charcoal, gasoline, coal, natural gas or kerosene. Increased risk occurs anytime these products are operated in enclosed areas with poor ventilation.
Other common sources of CO include the following:
- Car exhaust and indoor charcoal grills
- Tobacco smoke
- Faulty fireplaces and chimneys, wood burning stoves and gas appliances
- Gasoline engines, gas logs and gas space heaters
- Faulty gas water heaters or clothes dryers
- Heaters in cabins or campers, pools and spas.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
- Sudden flu-like illness
- Dizziness, headaches, sleepiness, weakness or clumsiness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fluttering or throbbing heartbeat, chest pain
- Shortness of breath or respiratory failure
- Cherry-red lips, unusually pale complexion
- Unconsciousness or coma
If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Get (everyone) out of the building into the fresh air immediately
- Call 911 or emergency services
- Open all windows
What is the best way to prevent CO poisoning?
- Know the symptoms (listed above)
- Install, maintain and inspect carbon monoxide detectors
- Do not use a charcoal grill indoors
- Do not use a combustion engine indoors
- Inspect on a regular basis all fuel-burning appliances, vents and chimneys
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