Beware carbon monoxide dangers when cold weather strikes

January 6, 2018

(HealthDay)—As temperatures plummet across the northern half of the United States this weekend, gas heating use goes up. So does the risk for accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

That's because exposure is both highly toxic and very hard to detect. The gas is colorless, tasteless and odorless.

As a result, more than 20,000 Americans seek emergency care each year for , according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 400 die.

To prevent monoxide incidents, the experts from the Nebraska Regional Poison Center say you should:

  • Install carbon monoxide alarms on every floor of your home. This is the most important thing you can do.
  • Inspect all fuel-burning equipment every year. Make sure that all gas heaters are properly vented to the outside. Gas generators should be placed at a good distance from the home, not near a window, door or vent.
  • Don't use a gas range or oven to warm up your home.
  • Don't use a gas or charcoal grill indoors.
  • Never leave your vehicle running while parked in a garage attached to your home.
  • Have your vehicle's muffler and tailpipes checked on a regular basis.

Though carbon monoxide is a quiet killer, signs of actual poisoning are very noticeable, according to the Poison Center. They include sleepiness, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, vomiting, shortness of breath and convulsions.

Anyone experiencing such symptoms should be immediately pulled out into the open air. It's important to seek medical help right away: Call 911 or the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Explore further: Carbon monoxide poisoning: an underestimated threat

More information: The National Safety Council has more on carbon monoxide poisoning.

Related Stories

Carbon monoxide poisoning: an underestimated threat

August 16, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Every year in the United States, nearly 450 people die and more than 2,000 people are hospitalized following accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, a new study shows.

Ready your home for winter's wrath

January 5, 2017
(HealthDay)—Winter's here. Nothing you can do about that. But, it's not too late to take steps to keep you and your home safe when frigid weather hits, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Protect against carbon monoxide as researchers hunt antidote

December 7, 2016
Scientists are on the trail of a potential antidote for carbon monoxide poisoning, an injected "scavenger" that promises to trap and remove the gas from blood within minutes. It's very early-stage research—but a reminder ...

Snowstorms and power outages present elevated risk for carbon monoxide poisoning

April 8, 2014
While preventable, carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Large weather events, such as snowstorms and heavy storms that cause power outages, can lead to an increase in the number of reported ...

Video: What makes carbon monoxide so deadly?

February 27, 2015
It's colorless, odorless and can be deadly.

Recommended for you

Craving a cup of joe? What does the research say about coffee and your health?

April 24, 2018
Coffee. Cup of joe. Java. No matter what you call it, millions of people worldwide wake up and fuel their day with it. And though consumers might be jittery about the recent court battle in California over cancer warnings, ...

Napping and teenage learning

April 24, 2018
Teenagers and sleep. It's certainly a passionate subject for many American parents, and those in China. University of Delaware's Xiaopeng Ji is investigating the relationship between midday-napping behaviors and neurocognitive ...

Researchers discover how young children seem to run around all day without getting tired

April 24, 2018
Children not only have fatigue-resistant muscles, but recover very quickly from high-intensity exercise—even faster than well-trained adult endurance athletes. This is the finding of new research published in open-access ...

Drinking affects mouth bacteria linked to diseases

April 24, 2018
When compared with nondrinkers, men and women who had one or more alcoholic drinks per day had an overabundance of oral bacteria linked to gum disease, some cancers, and heart disease. By contrast, drinkers had fewer bacteria ...

Vigorous physical activity may be linked to heightened risk of motor neurone disease

April 23, 2018
Vigorous physical activity, either in leisure time or in work, may be linked to a heightened risk of developing motor neurone disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS for short, suggests research published ...

Fetal exposure to moderate/high caffeine levels linked to excess childhood weight gain

April 23, 2018
Exposure to moderate to high caffeine levels while in the womb is linked to excess weight gain in early childhood, suggests a large observational study published in the online journal BMJ Open.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.