Health column: Do you know how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning?
December is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Month. Do you know the signs and symptoms?
Dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of conscious can be signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas that can that can build up in your blood stream when too much is present in the air. This can lead to serious tissue damage or death.
Carbon monoxide can be produced by burning gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal, or other fuel. Improperly ventilated appliances and engines, particularly in a tightly sealed or enclosed space, may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels.
Tips to protect yourself from carbon monoxide exposure:
• Use and install a battery operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911
• If you experience the symptoms of CO poisoning such as feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated seek prompt medical help
• Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, or charcoal burning device inside your home, basement, or garage, or near a window
• Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open
• Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented
• Don’t heat your house with a gas oven
• Don’t use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline- powered engine less than 20 feet from any window, door, or, vent. Use an extension cord that is more than 20 feet long to keep the generator at a safe distance
For more information: Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CO Poisoning
AZ Tracking works with Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to raise awareness about CO poisoning and to monitor CO-related illness and death in the United States. The figure below, taken from AZ Data Explorer, shows trends in CO emergency department visits for the state of Arizona from 2008-2017.
~Arizona Department of Health Services