Carbon monoxide cannot be seen or smelled, but it can be very deadly. If you or someone in your family is experiencing symptoms that you think could be from CO poisoning:
DO Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off combustion appliances and leave the house.
DO Go to an emergency room and tell the physician your suspicions. If CO poisoning has occurred it can often be diagnosed by a blood test done soon after exposure.
DO Be prepared to answer the following questions for the doctor:
- Do your symptoms occur only in the house? Do they disappear or decrease when you leave home and reappear when you return?
- Is anyone in your household experiencing the same symptoms? Did everyone’s symptoms begin at about the same time?
- Are you using any fuel-burning appliances in the home?
- Has anyone inspected your appliances lately? Are you certain they are working properly?
Prevention is the key to avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning:
DO Have any fuel-burning appliances (oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, ovens, dryers, etc.) inspected by a professional at the beginning of every heating season.
DO Choose appliances that vent fumes outside whenever possible, and have them properly installed and maintained.
DO Read and follow all instructions that accompany fuel-burning devices. Use the proper fuel and keep doors to the rest of the house open. Crack a window to ensure enough air for ventilation.
DO Call EPA’s IAQ INFO Clearninghouse (1-800-438-4318) for more information about how to reduce your risk
DON’T Idle the car in a garage – even if the garage door is open. Fumes build up quickly in the garage and living area of your home.
DON’T Use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short period of time.
DON’T Use a charcoal grill indoors – EVER – even in a fireplace.
DON’T Sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
DON’T Use any gasoline-powered engines (mowers, weed trimmers, snow blowers, etc.) in enclosed spaces.
DON’T Ignore symptoms, particularly if more than one person is feeling them. You could lose consciousness and die if you do nothing.
Courtesy of EPA