CO detectors catch a silent killer

Did you know that every year nearly 5,000 Americans are treated in hospital emergency departments for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning?* CO is a colorless, odorless toxic gas that can build up from fuel-burning appliances.


Laura Schrag, MD, an Emergency Physician at Hennepin County Medical Center says, “Carbon Monoxide is dangerous stuff. We should think of carbon monoxide when people have “flu-like” symptoms such as headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness or confusion. When multiple people in the same home or work place have similar symptoms this should be a clue to think about CO.”

“Everyone should have a CO detector in their home. Never operate gas equipment indoors or in poorly ventilated areas. If a person suspects CO exposure they should move out of the area of concern and seek medical attention. People most at risk are infants, elderly and pregnant women.”

Installing a CO detector that will sound an alarm when CO accumulates is the best defense. Test CO detectors regularly and replace the batteries yearly.

If the CO detector sounds, immediately open windows and doors for ventilation and turn off fuel-burning appliances. If anyone in the home is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning, evacuate and call 911. Call a qualified technician to inspect your heating system and appliances.

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