Carbon Monoxide (CO) is invisible, odorless and known as the silent killer. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), almost 500 unintentional deaths and more than 1,700 suicides are related to CO poisoning each year in the United States. CO is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths. Since there is no way for you to detect CO, it is imperative you utilize CO alarms and know the symptoms should you be exposed to CO.
CO is produced when fossil fuels (natural gas, propane, kerosene, gasoline, coal, wood and charcoal) burn incompletely due to insufficient oxygen. This can be caused by improper installation or poor maintenance of appliances, automobile exhaust, inadequate ventilation etc.
CO poisoning mimics flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, shortness of breath and fast heart rate. It doesn’t take much CO to cause problems.
Below is a table outlining the general effects of carbon monoxide on healthy adults. Individual susceptibility will vary.
If CO poisoning is suspected, open windows and doors for fresh air, leave the house, and call 9-1-1.