Carbon monoxide danger by Aziza Awate

What Can We Do to Protect Our Family, Relatives, and Friends from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Have a Safe Home and Safe Environment

During our January 7, 2018 KWHNA monthly teleconference, a member shared a serious event related to Carbon Monoxide poisoning that ended fatally. What a heart-breaking discovery.
The discussion motivated me to do some research and provide everyone with facts and prevention methods. As we all know information is power and would like to share my discoveries on the matter.
So, what is Carbon Monoxide, why is it dangerous, how can individuals be alerted about it, and what to do to eliminate of the risk for this not to happen in the home environment sitting and anywhere else?
According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (Schiller & Vanderpool, 2012). In the (CDC), define “Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless, invisible gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, kerosene, Methane and other fuels are not completely burned during use. Each year, Carbone Monoxide poisoning claims approximately more than 400 victims in the United States. In addition, 4000 Americans are hospitalized for Carbon Monoxide poisoning and 20,000 people get sick enough from exposure to visit an emergency room,” In this educational site for the public the authors elaborate that any combustion appliances-gas furnaces, wood stoves, hot water heaters, gas ranges—produces Carbon Monoxide. They continue in pressing that “A car running in an attached garage or the use of a hibachi indoors can also contribute to a buildup of Carbon Monoxide in a home.” (Schiller & Vanderpool, 2012).
The authors advice the public in pinpointing that since Carbon Monoxide is odorless, colorless and invisible some exposed persons may not be aware that they are being poisoned until at risk. “Early symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be similar to some flu symptoms, including headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue” (Schiller & Vanderpool, 2012).
Safety Tips:
“If you experience symptoms that you think could be from Carbon Monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off the combustion appliances, and leave the house. Go to an emergency room and tell the physician you suspect Carbon Monoxide poisoning. If Carbon Monoxide poisoning has accrued, it often can be diagnosed by a blood test done soon after exposure” (Schiller & Vanderpool, 2012).
“Carbon Dioxide is bad” another source of information the (EPA, 2009), in their website, list more alarming statistics that every year at least 430 people die in the US from accidental Carbon Monoxide poisoning and approximately 50,000 people in the United States visit the emergency department. (EPA, 2009).
The American Red Cross in their website also write that each year, Carbon Monoxide poisoning claims approximately 480 lives and send another 15,200 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment. They add that each year over 200 people die from Carbon Monoxide produced by fuel burning appliances in the home including furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters. They press more in telling and expressing the danger of Carbon Monoxide that a person can be poisoned by a small amount of Carbon Monoxide over a longer period or by a large amount of Carbon Monoxide over a shorter amount of time. The (American Red Cross, 2017).
Just food for thought, evidence based information that the Red Cross posted in their web side entails that Carbon Monoxide can have different affects on people based on its concentration in the air that people breathe, and the person’s health condition. Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses with symptoms including shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. “High levels of Carbon Monoxide can be fatal, causing death within minutes”. (American Red Cross, 2017).
How to Recognize Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
Please keep in mind that some disease symptoms overlap and look-alike and may have the same affect on the body but may be treated and dealt with differently. That said, to repeat and to reiterate/recap, the most common symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. (American Red Cross, 2017).
More helpful tips and what to do to protect this from happening:
*Make sure appliances are installed and vented properly. (American Red Cross,2017).
*Do not use a Carbon Monoxide alarm in place of smoke alarm. Have both. (American Red Cross,2017).
*Treat the alarm signal as a real emergency each time. If the alarm sounds and you are not experiencing any symptoms describe above, press the reset button. If the alarm continues to sound, call the fire department. (American Red Cross,2017).
*Have gas or wood-burning appliances, heating and ventilation systems (including chimneys inspected regularly. The – (CDC, 2017).
*Inspect home after heavy snow fall and make sure snow is removed from around exhaust stacks, vents, and fresh-air intakes. The – (CDC, 2017).
*Buy a Carbon Monoxide detector for your home or apartment and make sure the detector meets Standard UL 2034 of the Underwriters Laboratory. (American Red Cross, 2017).
*Keep in mind that installing a detector is not a guarantee of safety, just one of the precautions you should take. The -(CDC, 2017).
*Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage. The -(CDC, 2017).
*Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. The- (CDC, 2017).
* Keep vents and chimneys free of debris, especially if winds are high, Flying debris can bloke ventilation lines. The – (CDC, 2017).
*Never run a motor vehicle generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline- powdered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent exhaust can vent into an enclosed area. The-(CDC, 2017).
*Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper. The- (CDC, July 2017).
*If conditions are too hot, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter. The – (CDC, July 2017).
*If Carbon Monoxide is suspected, consult a health care professional right away or call 911. The – (CDC, July 2017).
The bottom line is, your safety is in your hands- you all are in charge of it. Truly, you can protect yourself and your family in considering that Carbon Monoxide poisoning is utterly preventable. So please stay safe for you and those around you. Please reach out and educate others of the danger of this “Silent killer” Thank you for taking the time of reading this article. I hope it is of benefit to you all.

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  1. 1) An article about saving or redeeming one’s life.
    2) An article that reflects the traditional saying (adage) “ ዊሒዝ እንደይ :ማጽእ :ገበይ :ዊሒዝ :ጽረግ ” Clear the flood ‘s path before it’s arrival.
    3) An article that conveys about pursuing solutions rather than rehashing the challenges or problems.
    Thank you Aziza!!!’

  2. Thank You Aziza for taking your time to research and provide us with this informative article. I enjoy your postings and always find them to be very educative and of great value.

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