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Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention

Graphic: Carbon Monpxode (CO) Poisoning. Can't be seen. Can't be smelled. Can't be heard. CAN be stopped.Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning. Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. If you don't have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector, buy one soon.

CO is found in fumes produced by portable generators, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.

Click here for important information on staying safe and healthy during winter weather.

How to Recognize CO Poisoning

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms.

Photo: CO detector and batteriesClick Here for Important CO Poisoning Prevention Tips in 16 Additional Languages.

  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.
  • Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage, even with the door open.
  • Graphic: Carbon Monoxide (CO) can be deadly. Protect you family. Install a CO gas detector.Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.
  • Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
  • If conditions are too hot or too cold, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter.
  • If CO poisoning is suspected, consult a health care professional right away.

CO poisoning is entirely preventable. You can protect yourself and your family by acting wisely in case of a power outage and learning the symptoms of CO poisoning.

For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov/co.

 

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  • Page last reviewed: January 28, 2014
  • Page last updated: January 28, 2014
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
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