Updated: 10:52 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 | Posted: 10:06 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, 2012
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Staff writers Katie Leslie, John Spink, Mike Morris and Jeffry Scott contributed to this article.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide, or CO, is an odorless and colorless gas that can cause serious illness or death when inhaled. CO is produced when fuel is burned and can be found in combustion fumes, such as in cars, gas engines, stoves, gas ranges and heating systems. The gas builds up in enclosed spaces.
Why is it dangerous?
When inhaled, CO enters the bloodstream and displaces oxygen supplied to vital organs. The gas can cause illness, brain injury and death. Roughly 170 people die annually from carbon monoxide exposure, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
Those exposed to CO may experience such symptoms as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, vomiting, trouble breathing, confusion, stomach upset, fainting, confusion and in extreme cases, death. Some CO survivors report feeling immobilized, unable to move to a safer area.
What to do when you suspect exposure:
Seek fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.
How to prevent exposure:
Have household appliances checked by a professional annually to ensure proper functioning. Install a carbon monoxide detector, found at most hardware stores, in your home.
Source: Children’s Hospital Boston and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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