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Posts Tagged ‘Winter safety’

 

IMG_1153We have had a relatively mild winter so far, but it looks like we are going to be experiencing some cold, snowy weather for the next couple of weeks. As we try to keep our homes warm, we also need to think about keeping our families safe.

One thing we should be especially aware of is the danger from carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage, or even death.

The Mayo Clinic shares this list of symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be especially dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated. Unborn babies, young children and older adults may be particularly affected by CO. People may have irreversible brain damage or even be killed before anyone realizes there’s a problem. If you suspect a problem with CO, open windows, get outside if possible and call 911 for emergency assistance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some information and guidance for us:

Every winter when the temperature drops, your furnace can become a silent killer. Gas- and oil-burning furnaces produce carbon monoxide (CO). CO is an invisible, odorless,

poison gas that kills hundreds every year and makes thousands more sick. Follow these steps to keep your family safe this winter.

Gas or Oil Burning Furnace

– Have your furnace inspected every year.

CO DETECTORS

– Install battery-operated or battery back-up CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home.

– Check CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning properly.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reminds us that  CO is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO.

The sites listed here are great resources of additional information about CO and how we can avoid problems in our homes and keep our self  and our families safe and warm!

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County.

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Pickaway County.

Resources:

http://www.cdc.gov/co/pdfs/furnace.pdf

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carbon-monoxide/basics/symptoms/con-20025444

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/

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