How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

carbon monoxide poisoning

Fall weather brings a sharp increase in carbon monoxide poisonings.

As people turn on heating systems and light up fireplaces for the first time in months, the potential for carbon monoxide buildup in homes rises.

“Hundreds of people die every year of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, which is particularly sad because it’s so easily preventable,” says Dr. Deborah Diercks, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“Carbon monoxide is produced any time you burn fuel in cars, trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces.”

Carbon monoxide exposure causes nausea, headache, sleepiness and, ultimately, death.

You can’t rely on your nose to detect carbon monoxide, since it’s odorless, so a working carbon monoxide detector in your home is important.

To help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Have your heating system checked once a year by a qualified technician.
  • Have your chimney cleaned annually to be sure it’s clear of debris and vents properly.
  • Don’t use a gas range or oven to heat your home.
  • Don’t use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors.
  • Don’t use a gas generator inside your home or garage.
  • Don’t use homemade patches, such as duct tape, to repair a vent pipe.

News source: UT Southwestern Center.
Figure legend: This image is for illustrative purposes only.