Emissions from vehicles generally include carbon monoxide which is a silent but dangerous threat. Statistics say that more than 430 deaths are caused by this odorless, colorless but toxic gas each year. And it’s not just in your car or garage that you can be exposed to carbon monoxide. It can happen in your home, too.
Carbon monoxide gas is a molecule composed of one part oxygen and one part carbon. It results from carbon fuel such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane and heating oil, fails to completely burn. If burned in an open area with a lot of ventilation, no threat should be expected. Unlike in confined spaces like kitchens, basements, or garages, carbon monoxide is definitely hazardous.
Carbon monoxide not only binds a person’s red blood cells, it also causes starvation of oxygen that will pass through the lungs.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The following are the earliest signs that a person has been poisoned by carbon monoxide:
- Mild headaches
- Frequent vomiting
- Shortness of breath
Most symptoms are similar to those of the flu or cold, resulting to ignoring them easily. Unconsciousness and disorientation is a further symptom of poisoning.
To ensure a safer home, carbon monoxide must be easily detected. For convenience, it is recommended that a household have carbon monoxide sensor. These sensors are the best way to prevent poisoning. It works the same way as smoke or fire alarm by sounding a siren. It can also be connected to a home security system or through your smart phone. These detectors are easy to install, affordable and will likely save lives. It is recommended that each level of a house have a detector, near the bedroom and near the garage.
Tips to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Though carbon monoxide poses a serious risk, it is very preventable. Aside from being prepared with a carbon monoxide sensor, the following can also be followed for a safer home environment:
- Do not use a gas range in heating the house.
- Avoid running the car in the garage. It is more advisable to pull out the car from the garage first before warming it up.
- Ensure proper ventilation. When gas-powered equipments like space heaters, generators and pressure washers are run in a closed area, carbon monoxide likely builds up faster. Places like the basement or the garage must then have proper ventilation too.
- Practice safe cooking in a camp site. Always use a charcoal grill, camping stove or hibachi outdoors.