What you don’t know can hurt you.
As most of us in the Austin area are starting our heaters in earnest, it’s important to be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be produced by a number of appliances, including gas heaters and stoves. Unfortunately, from past clients, we’ve seen first hand that carbon monoxide poisoning can be both devestating and hard to detect.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. With higher exposure, carbon monoxide exposure can cause cognitive issues — difficulty concentrating, remembering things, etc. — that can last for months, if not years. And with great exposure, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to loss of consciousness and death.
Unfortunately, many of these symptoms are very similar to other medical conditions. As a result, it’s difficult to diagnose carbon monoxide poisoning unless a physician has reason to expect a problem. And sadly, as the diagnoses time drags on, the victim is exposed to higher and higher levels of carbon monoxide.
There are two important steps that you can take to help prevent your family’s exposure to carbon monoxide. First, on an annual basis, have your heater, water heater, stove and any other appliances running on gas checked once a year by a qualified technician. Second, buy a carbon monoxide detector. Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, the only way to really know if your family faces exposure is a working carbon monoxide detector.
For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, check out the following:
- Centers For Disease Control Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Fact Sheet
- Centers For Disease Control Carbon Monoxide Prevention Guidelines
- Mayo Clinic Carbono Monoxide Poisoning References