Carbon Monoxide Detectors
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide is a colourless, odourless, deadly gas. Because you cannot see, taste or smell it, carbon monoxide can kill you before you know it is even there.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are very similar to the flu.
Exposure to low concentrations of carbon monoxide may produce a slight headache or shortness of breath during moderate activity.
Exposure to higher concentrations of carbon monoxide may cause a severe headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, mental confusion, weakness, vision and hearing impairment, collapse or fainting, floss of muscle control and drowsiness.
Exposure to higher concentrations can result in unconsciousness, brain damage or death.
If you inhale carbon monoxide, you could experience any of the above symptoms. If you or any member of your household is affected, or if the symptoms lessen or disappear when you leave the home, you should suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and take action immediately.
Why is Carbon Monoxide so dangerous?
The great danger of carbon monoxide is its attraction to hemoglobin in the bloodstream, which normally carries life-giving oxygen to cells and tissues. As even small amounts are breathed in, carbon monoxide quickly bonds with hemoglobin in the blood, displacing the oxygen that organs need to function. When CO is present in the air, it rapidly accumulates in the blood, forming a toxic compound known as carboxyhemoglobin (COHb). Carboxyhemoglobin causes symptoms similar to the flu, such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells, confusion and irritability. As levels of COHb increase, vomiting, loss of consciousness and eventually brain damage or death may result.
How can I protect myself and family from Carbon Monoxide poisoning?
The Consumer Product Safety commission recommends installing at least one carbon monoxide detector with an audible alarm near the sleeping areas. If a home has multiple floors, a detector on every level provides extra protection. Choose an Underwriters Laboratories Inc. listed detector. In addition to installing carbon monoxide detectors as a first line of defense, consumers should have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer.