Resource to Help Prevent CO Poisoning

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed a new fact sheet that answers such questions as "Do you know how to tell the difference between carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and the flu?"

According to a Jan. 13 press release, symptoms could be the result of CO poisoning when you feel better when you are away from home or the symptoms occur or get worse shortly after turning on a fuel-burning device or running a vehicle in an attached garage.

Carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas, is the most common cause of poisoning death in the United States. Unintentional CO poisonings are responsible for about 500 deaths and 15,000 visits to the emergency room each year. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented by installing a carbon monoxide alarm, yet less than one-third of homes have them installed.

Everyone is at risk of being poisoned by CO exposure. Older adults with health conditions such as chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems are even more susceptible. Devices that produce CO include cars, boats, gasoline engines, stoves, and heating systems. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces.

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