June is National Safety Month. Learn what you can do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, an invisible threat that can cause severe illness and even death.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a gas that you can’t see, smell or taste. It is produced by burning fuel such as:
Carbon monoxide can easily pass through drywall and leak from one area of your home to another. You can also be exposed to it outside in covered areas such as on an enclosed porch or under a tent.
The following fuel-burning items can produce carbon monoxide at dangerous levels:
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Carbon monoxide attaches to red blood cells in the same spot where oxygen would normally attach. This deprives the brain and other vital organs of oxygen. In the United States, hundreds of people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning and thousands become seriously ill, often with long-term consequences.
Signs of poisoning include:
If you’re experiencing symptoms, immediately leave the area of exposure, get to a well-ventilated area and dial 911 for medical attention.
When not treated right away, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to persistent problems that include:
How can I prevent poisoning?
Taking the simple precautions below can help you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:
Get more safety and personal preparedness tips on our UCLA Health Emergency Preparedness page at www.uclahealth.org/emergency.
Tags: carbon monoxide alarm, carbon monoxide poisoning, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, emergency preparedness, Healthy Living, National Safety Month, personal preparedness, safety, symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, Wellness