Protecting Your Family From Carbon Monoxide Exposure – Advice from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care
Carbon monoxide can be an imperceptible killer. An odorless byproduct of burning fuels, such as oil, gas, kerosene, charcoal, and wood, carbon monoxide can be released in dangerous levels from idling cars and fuel-burning appliances that are used incorrectly, malfunctioning, or improperly ventilated. While everyone is vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning, the young and elderly, along with those who have a history of heart or respiratory disease, are particularly at risk.
To protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to be aware of the symptoms, which can include headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and shortness of breath, and also to take the following precautionary measures:
- Never leave a vehicle running in the garage – even with the garage door open
- Never run a generator in the house or garage – even with the windows and doors open
- When running a generator outdoors, keep it away from open windows and doors
- Never burn charcoal in a house, garage, vehicle, or tent
- Never use a gas oven, range, or clothes dryer for heat
- Only use fuel-burning appliances that are properly installed to vent the fumes outside
- Maintain fuel-burning appliances, such as gas ranges, gas ovens, gas clothes dryers, gas water heaters, oil and gas furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and gas or kerosene space heaters, according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Never use an unvented fuel-burning appliance in a closed room or in a room where someone is sleeping
- Do not ignore the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – immediately leave the building and seek medical attention
For extra assurance, you can purchase a carbon monoxide detector. Keep in mind, however, that this technology is still developing, and carbon monoxide detectors are generally not considered to be as reliable as smoke detectors. Therefore, a carbon monoxide detector should be thought of as a backup safety measure only, and not a replacement for taking the above preventive measures.
For more advice on how to keep yourself and your family safe, be sure to review our online series of health articles. If you have questions, please contact or visit the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.