Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (cont.)
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
The best protection from carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a carbon monoxide alarm on each level of your home or boat as your first line of defense. A carbon monoxide monitor with an audible alarm works much like a home smoke alarm and beeps loudly when the sensors detect carbon monoxide.
If the alarm sounds, evacuate the building. People who have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should seek emergency medical care. Call the fire department or public service company to investigate.
Inspect your home for hazards.
Your home heating system, chimney, and flue must be inspected and cleaned by a qualified technician every year. Keep chimneys clear of bird and squirrel nests, leaves, and residue to ensure proper ventilation.
Be sure your furnace and other appliances, such as gas ovens, ranges, and cook tops, are inspected for adequate ventilation.
Do not burn charcoal inside your house (even in the fireplace). Have gas fireplaces inspected each fall to ensure the pilot light burns safely.
Do not operate gasoline-powered engines in confined areas such as garages or basements. Do not leave a car, mower, generator, or other vehicle running in an attached garage, even with the door open.
Do not block or seal shut exhaust flues or ducts for appliances such as water heaters, ranges, and clothes dryers.
Become familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning and boating (please see Web Links section).
Some states in the US require carbon monoxide poison detectors in homes, boats, day care centers, businesses, etc. For a list of states that require carbon monoxide detectors, please read the Carbon Monoxide Detectors State Statues to see if you are in compliance.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prognosis
The prognosis for a person with carbon monoxide poisoning is difficult to predict.
Death can result from severe cases.
Even with proper treatment, some people develop long-term brain damage, resulting in complications such as severe memory loss, difficulty thinking, or other neurologic or psychiatric problems.
Others appear to have no long-term problems.
Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine
CDC.gov. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning FAQs.
Hampson NB. Residential carbon monoxide alarm use: opportunities for poisoning prevention. J Environ Health. 2011 Jan-Feb;73(6):30-3.
Johnson-Arbor, K., et al. A survey of residential carbon monoxide detector utilization among Connecticut Emergency Department patients. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2012 Jun;50(5):384-9.
National Fire Protection Association. Fast Facts About Smoke Alarms and Fire.
Last Reviewed 11/17/2017
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