Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Risks Highlighted by Health Officials
Over the past week, as most of the country switched to Daylight Savings Time, a number of states and safety organizations have issued warnings about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning with the winter months approaching.
Consumers have been urged to change batteries and test both their fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as they turned back clocks last Sunday morning, and efforts have been made to raise awareness about the serious and potentially life-threatening side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The winter months typically see the highest rate of carbon monoxide exposure injuries and deaths, as people tend to rely more on heating devices that release the toxic gas as the temperatures drop.
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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued carbon monoxide warnings in the lead up to Daylight Savings Time, as did several states.
Ohio has reported that the state has seen an increasing number of carbon monoxide poisoning cases in recent years and issued an awareness bulletin late last month, in an effort to reduce the risks for consumers.
Carbon monoxide is a significantly toxic gas that has no irritating factors that can allow someone to detect its presence. Because people often fail to promptly recognize symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, exposure is a leading cause of fatal poisonings in the United States.
According to the CDC, there are more than 500 carbon monoxide poisoning deaths each year in the United States, and more than 15,000 people require emergency room treatment following exposure to the gas annually. In many cases individuals who survive exposure are left with serious and life-long injuries due to brain damage from carbon monoxide.
In many cases, the injuries or deaths could have been prevented by the use of carbon monoxide detectors and proper maintenance of heating systems and generators. Injuries stemming from exposures that were caused by the negligence or neglect of another person or corporation often result in carbon monoxide lawsuits.
Health and safety agencies provide the following tips for avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning as the winter months approach:
- Have all heating and water systems, as well as other gas and oil burning appliances inspected every year.
- Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home and check or replace the batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
- If your CO detector goes off, immediately leave your home and contact 911.
- Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect carbon monoxide exposure and feel dizzy, light-headed or nauseous.
- Do not use a generator, charcoal grill or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device in your home, garage or near a window.
- Do not run a car or truck inside an attached garage, even if you leave the door open.
- Do not heat your house with a gas oven.
- Do not use a stove or fireplace that is not properly vented.
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