Keep Your Family Safe From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Do you know that carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the most common cause of poisoning death in the United States? As winter continues, North Dakota Health and Human Services (NDHHS) is urging people to know the signs to protect themselves against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is a gas that you cannot taste, see or smell, and because of this, CO is often called the “invisible killer.” This gas is produced when fuels containing carbon – wood, charcoal, gasoline, coal, natural gas and kerosene – are not burned completely. However, there are things you can do to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, especially around sleeping areas
  • Test carbon monoxide alarms every month
  • Check heating systems and fuel-burning appliances annually
  • Use generators and grills outside of your home, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors
  • Clear snow away from the outside vents for fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces so that dangerous carbon monoxide does not build up in the house
  • Always warm up vehicles outside of your garage
  • In the case of a CO emergency, get to a safe location outside immediately, where you can breathe in fresh air before calling 911

Remaining in a location with leaking carbon monoxide leads to increasingly serious harmful effects, depending on the duration of your exposure to the gas. Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vision disturbances
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness

Remember, Carbon monoxide has no smell, no taste and no sound. Neither people nor animals can tell when they are breathing it in, but it can be fatal. Stay informed and prepared so you can stay safe. To learn more about poison prevention, please visit Poison Prevention Information | NDHHS.