Hundreds of people across the country die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s common for the deadly gas to strike in the wintertime when homeowners are heating their homes because less outside air ventilation occurs. If the amount of gas isn’t enough to kill you, it still poses severe threats to the inside of your home. It’s critical to be well-informed about how it can pose a severe detriment to your well-being. Carbon monoxide is produced as a result of using any items that burn fuel, such as a fireplace, stove, or water heater. Issues commonly occur without the proper installation of a household item or a lower level of ventilation.
Exposure To Carbon Monoxide and Side Effects
This gas is so dangerous because it is colorless and odorless. You become susceptible to the hazardous effects of breathing the toxic gases without even realizing it. The way it affects someone can vary depending on factors such as age, current health, and the level of concentration found in the home. According to the EPA, higher concentration levels can tremendously impact your health. Lower amounts of carbon monoxide have been linked to symptoms such as fatigue and chest pains. In more significant quantities, it is responsible for severe headaches, nausea, vision loss, and, in severe cases, death.
Long-Term Side Effects of Carbon Monoxide
It is possible to be exposed to lower levels of carbon monoxide in the home. While lower levels aren’t typically deadly, over some time, the gases can severely affect your health. Over the years, repeated exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to possible neurological issues, including:
- Impaired memory
- Mood and behavior disorders
- Deterioration of cognitive functions
Who is Most At-Risk for the Impacts of Carbon Monoxide?
The carbon monoxide risks can affect anyone, yet individuals who are a certain age or have medical conditions are at a higher risk. Children’s lungs that are not fully developing require them to breathe more often than an adult, which means more carbon monoxide inhaled. The elderly population typically has a weaker immune system, so they can be more likely to develop illnesses or even brain damage. Finally, pregnant women’s unborn children are at risk for fetal brain damage or even death. Realizing the severity of carbon monoxide exposure, even in small amounts, can help protect the most vulnerable members of your family.
Taking Action To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure
The dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented with a few actionable steps. Start by placing detectors in all the sleeping areas of your home, and ensure to check the batteries at least twice a year. Have a professional come to your home once a year to inspect the devices that could put you at risk, like water heaters and furnaces. Keep your home properly ventilated with fresh air and different types of fans (such as a wall-mount exhaust fan or a commercial exhaust fan. However, other exhaust fans that won’t be very helpful include things like bathroom exhaust fans and computer airflow fans.) if you have items like a wood-burning fireplace, and make sure to clean your chimney at least on an annual basis. Lastly, never take a chance if your alarm goes off. Even if you felt like it was a false alarm, it’s your best bet to call 911 or the fire department immediately. With these tips, you’ll have peace of mind keeping your family safe from carbon monoxide.