Carbon Monoxide, the Invisible Threat

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, dangerous gas that causes sudden feelings of illness, and can even cause death. CO can leak from improperly vented or malfunctioning furnaces, boilers, water heaters, clothes dryers and stoves that use natural gas.

Illinois had the 2nd highest rate of  CO poisoning related deaths in the US between 1999-2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last week, CO poisoning was found to be the cause of illness at the Elgin O’Hare Commerce Center, just outside Chicago. According to the article by the United Press International, 38 employees were rushed to the hospital for symptoms including nausea, difficulty breathing, and headaches. Although one employee passed out, all employees were released from the hospital in good health. Propane powered forklifts were the suspected culprit.

People’s Gas, our local natural gas provider, advises:

Be Aware of the Symptoms:

Sudden flu-like illness
Dizziness, headaches, sleepiness
Nausea or vomiting
Fluttering or throbbing heartbeat
Cherry-red lips, unusually pale complexion
Unconsciousness

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

Be alert for the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms and replace them every five years.
Change the batteries in your CO alarm every 6 months, and the beginning of Winter.
Never operate internal combustion engines indoors.
Never use a charcoal grill indoors.
Have all fuel-burning appliances, flues, vents and chimneys checked regularly.

If you suspect a person is suffering from CO poisoning: Get them out of the building immediately and into fresh air. Call 911 for medical assistance.

Did you know it is a requirement by Illinois state law that every household must have a CO detector within 15 feet of sleeping quarters? Need a CO detector? Give VinTech a call.