What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous is the fact that it is odorless, colorless, and produced by quite a few appliances that we come into contact with every day. Many people do not realize that they are inhaling this deadly gas until they begin to feel the debilitating side effects. This is why it is so important for homeowners to know about the common symptoms of CO poisoning and what they can do to prevent it.
How is Carbon Monoxide Produced?
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of a flammable substance that is not burning cleanly. This includes natural gas, kerosene, oil, petroleum, and even wood to a lesser extent. CO generally comes from appliances such as furnaces, room heaters, water heaters, and ranges in the kitchen. Carbon monoxide can also be produced when certain items are burnt in a fireplace.
The Symptoms of CO Poisoning
One of the reasons that many people do not realize they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning is because the symptoms can be similar to other medical issues such as the flu. The most common side effects of inhaling CO include headaches, chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and nausea. Many people will only notice these symptoms when they are at home and begin to feel better as soon as they leave their house. Long-term exposure can lead to serious health problems including permanent brain damage.
Preventing CO Poisoning
The best way to prevent CO poisoning is to make sure that all appliances in your home are installed correctly and well-maintained. Appliances that have “lazy” yellow flames instead of blue flames are most likely producing at least some carbon monoxide. Every home should have multiple CO detectors that are tested regularly. It is also important to refrain from burning anything in the fireplace beside firewood.
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