Each year in America, unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning claims more than 400 lives and sends another 20,000 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment, according to the United States Fire Administration.
CO is a colorless, odorless and toxic gas. It can come from sources like motor vehicles, gas-fired appliances and wood-burning stoves or fireplaces. Your body absorbs CO through breathing. CO clings to your red blood cells and displaces the oxygen in your body. This occurs because the attraction between CO and red blood cells is 200 times stronger than the attraction between red blood cells and oxygen. Symptoms of CO poisoning are often flu-like and may include headaches, nausea, dizziness, persistent sleepiness, confusion and disorientation.
Make your home safer by installing a CO detector near sleeping areas; having a professional check gas-fired appliances, furnaces, water heaters and chimney systems every year; and never leave a motor vehicle running inside a garage.
Read more about this invisible killer from the United States Fire Administration.