Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning During the Winter
It is that time of year when we are trying to say warm by turning up our space heaters and gas furnaces and may unknowingly be putting ourselves in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. When winter temperatures drop, and you leave your home heating systems running for hours, you risk carbon monoxide (CO) exposure.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 400 people in the United States die, and 50,000 people are sent to the hospital from accidental CO poisoning every year. You can take some steps to help protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.
How Does CO Poisoning Occur?
Carbon monoxide poisonings happen more often during the fall and winter seasons when people are more likely to use heaters and furnaces. CO is found in fumes produced by:
- kerosene heaters
- cars running in garages
- portable generators
- gas ranges
- burning wood and charcoal
CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and pets can be poisoned and die from breathing these hazardous fumes.
Who’s Most at Risk for CO Poisoning?
Although carbon monoxide poisoning threatens everyone, specific populations are most at risk. The following groups are especially at risk of developing CO poisoning:
- pregnant women
- newborns and children
- elderly people
- those with respiratory, pulmonary, or cardiovascular issues
- people diagnosed with anemia
- those who smoke
- those living at high altitudes
Symptoms of CO Poisoning
CO poisoning is entirely preventable. You can protect yourself and your family by recognizing the symptoms, which include the following:
- chest pain
Keep in mind that people who have been drinking alcohol or are sleeping can die from carbon monoxide poisoning before ever having these symptoms.
Tips to Prevent CO Poisoning
Since carbon monoxide is so deadly, it is essential not to take any chances. Below are some helpful tips that can help save your life.
- Change or check the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarm twice a year.
- Have a battery-powered or battery-backup CO detector.
- Have a professional technician service your water heater, heating system, and other oil, gas, or coal-burning appliances yearly.
- Keep vents and flues free of debris.
- Never leave your car running in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, like a garage.
- Do not run a car, pressure washer, gasoline-powered engine, or generator less than 20 feet from a vent, an open window, or a door.
- Never use an unvented fireplace in the house or a hibachi, charcoal grill, or portable camping stove inside a tent or camper.
If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, leave your house immediately and call 911. Don’t go back inside your home until the issue is solved. Seek medical care as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel symptoms, because CO can stay in the blood.
Watch the YouTube Video to learn more about protecting your home from CO poisoning in severe winter weather conditions.
Sacramento Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Attorney. Carbon monoxide poisoning compensation claims are complex and should be handled by an experienced legal team. These cases typically take time due to the collection of evidence needed to build a solid claim.
To find out how our injury lawyers can help you and your family, call (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly case advice. We will work diligently to ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.
Since 1982, our Sacramento personal injury law firm has represented those impacted by unintentional CO poisoning in a devastating injury accident or wrongful death.
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