Caution: Carbon Monoxide

You know the importance of smoke detectors to protect you and your family. But what about carbon monoxide detectors? What exactly is this gas, and how can you stay safe?

What is carbon monoxide? CO is an odorless, colorless gas found in fumes produced by fuel burning in vehicles, stoves, small engines, fireplaces, grills and more. It can build up indoors and poison people or animals that breathe it in.
What are the symptoms? Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, weakness, dizziness, upset stomach, chest pain, vomiting and confusion — mimicking the symptoms of the flu. Too much inhaled CO can cause a person to pass out or even die. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die before experiencing symptoms.

Who is at risk? Everyone can be harmed by CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, and people with heart disease, anemia or breathing problems are more likely to get sick. More than 400 Americans die annually from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires.

How can you prevent CO poisoning?

  • Install battery-powered CO detectors in your home and change the batteries twice a year. Place a detector in or near your bedroom so it can wake you if necessary.
  • Have your heater, water heater and other appliances serviced every year. Make sure any gas appliances are vented properly.
  • Never patch a pipe with tape or gum, as this can lead to CO buildup.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors.
  • Never run your vehicle inside a garage attached to a house, even with the garage door open.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is dangerous, but you can prevent it with caution.

Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from