You may be surprised to know that according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 430 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning annually. Even more astonishing, carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for 20,000 emergency room visits each year, reports Health. Each and every one of these deaths and emergency room visits can be prevented. But because carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, it is easy to go unnoticed until it is much too late.
In an article for Health, pediatric injury prevention coordinator at Stony Brook Children's Hospital Susan Katz warns the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are dizziness, stomach problems, headache, and drowsiness. Other symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic, are confusion, blurred vision, shortness of breath, and general weakness. If you and those around you begin experiencing symptoms at the same time, it is crucial to seek fresh air immediately.
The Gas Safe Register says too often carbon monoxide poisoning is mistaken for more innocuous ailments like flu or fatigue. If you experience symptoms only in your home, this is a sign of a gas leak. You may also want to check you pets for similar signs and symptoms.
If you suspect a gas leak, do not look for it. Turn off gas appliances if they are in immediate reach and get outside immediately. As soon as you are breathing fresh air, call 911 and ask your doctor for a blood or breath check, advises The Gas Safe Register. If carbon monoxide is not immediately treated, especially in children and older adults, it can result in such serious complications as permanent brain damage, life-threatening heart complications, and even death, warns Mayo Clinic.
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