February 16, 2016 — By Wendy Sachs

Carbon monoxide is a year-round concern, but during the winter months when windows and doors are shut tight, awareness is heightened. We hear many more news stories with related carbon monoxide-induced accidents. Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer found in the fumes created when fuel is burning. These fumes can come from cars, stoves, grills, fireplaces, and water heaters. Unfortunately, carbon monoxide cannot be seen or smelled but the effects are dangerous, sometimes fatal.

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and deliriousness. Some of these symptoms can mirror the flu, so be cautious if a charge presents these ailments. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests taking the following steps to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Have the mechanic inspect your car’s exhaust system annually.
  • Never let a car sit idle inside the garage, even if the garage door is open.
  • In the event of inclement weather, make sure your tailpipe is not blocked with snow, ice, leaves, or other debris.
  • Keep children away from the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home. There are many brands that make a smoke/carbon monoxide detector combined. Check the battery regularly.
  • Clean chimneys regularly to avoid build up that could cause a carbon monoxide build up.
  • If there is a generator in the home, make sure that it is less than 20 feet from the window or door.

We hope these tips will help you have a safe and cozy winter!