Last week, we sadly had another tragedy near our town with multiple deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning. And we still have a couple months of cold weather ahead. I have also seen patients who have suffered from both acute and chronic exposures of carbon monoxide poisoning. Please take a moment to read the following 3 simple steps to prevent poisoning from happening, and how to recognize symptoms from it. And please protect the people you care about by passing this on, especially those who:
* use propane or natural gas for heating and/or appliances
*use a wood stove
* have a garage attached to the home
* own a generator
* travel in a camper or RV
Here in New England- almost 100% of us are included in at least one or two of these categories!
1. If you meet any of the above conditions, get carbon monoxide detectors! Not this week or next month. NOW. Best picks are ones that plug into the wall, and run on batteries as back up in case of power outage (this greatly prolongs battery life).
This is the model I selected after doing my research, we’ve used them for years and have plugged them in some of our families’ homes as well:
Kidde KN-COPP-3 Nighthawk Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery Backup and Digital Display
Make sure to replace them in time intervals recommended by the manufacturer (both batteries and the whole unit need to be replaced every few years or more)
For a starting point for more information, here is Consumer Reports buying guide:
2. Most important! When running a generator, never, NEVER run it inside. Not even in your garage with the garage door wide open, and not even outside NEARBY the open door of your garage. This is because the fumes will still seep into the home. Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill in a matter of seconds. Always operate it outside, away from the home with the exhaust pointed away and downstream of any windows and doors that might be opened.
3. Follow manufacturer installation guidelines carefully. I originally purchased our first unit from a well known home store, and several different professionals there assured me that they should be installed high up, no-no- low to the floor, no- somewhere in the middle.
Here are some specific guidelines from the manufacturer, FirstAlert, on placement issues:
Finally, leaks from an improperly vented clothes dryer, stove or indoor heater happen on occasion. People with attached garages should be aware that seepage does occur in small amounts. Carbon monoxide poisoning can manifest as flu symptoms, headache, dizziness, weakness and nausea.
Be aware that pets and children may be more sensitive to the effects, even at low exposures. Make sure to have detectors in all floors of your home and basement, and wherever people are sleeping, particularly in bedrooms or home gyms adjacent to attached car ports.
Have a safe and enjoyable finale to the winter! (or will this winter ever end?)
The Mommy Illuminati