To understand how dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) is, you have to look at the relationship it has with hemoglobin. Hemoglobin picks up oxygen (O2) in the lungs and transports it to the body where it is deposited in the cell. A body’s hemoglobin drops off the oxygen and picks up carbon dioxide (CO2). How the hemoglobin picks up one and drops the other is due to the chemical condition of the blood. The problem is that when a molecule of hemoglobin picks up a molecule of CO, it does its best to cling to it. Therefore, if CO is present in the air, perhaps due to an improperly working heating device, the amount of O2 people and animals take in and have present in their blood drops leading to serious illness or death.
- Where does CO like to hang out?/strong>CO can be located in areas where flange heaters, fuel oil heaters, advantage engineering products or other heating products are used. Basically wherever or whenever fuels are burned, CO is produced. When these devices are used outdoors, they do not cause any real problems but when heating devices and products are used indoors, the result can be very dangerous to people living in the building.
- How do I know if I have been, or any of my family has been, exposed to CO?/strong>One other problem with CO is that the symptoms of poisoning are very similar to how people feel when they have the flu. The symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle weakness and soreness, confusion and chest pain. When most people experience these issues they do not immediately suspect their heating devices or thing about CO.
- You can protect yourself and your family from CO.The first thing you need to do is but a CO detector. You can get fire alarm with a CO detector in it. Because CO gas is invisible and has no smell, you need to get a detector to know when it is present in your home. You should make sure it will sound the alarm if it finds the gas in your air. After you buy a detector, you should check the batteries on a regular basis and replace the machine at least every five years. You should also make sure you have your heating system checked on a regular basis by a qualified technician.
- How many people are affected by CO poisoning?In reality, just about everyone can be hurt by this kind of poisoning. Though the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Protection says that it is particularly dangerous for the elderly and infants. People who have been diagnosed with anemic, chronic heart disease and/or breathing difficulties ca be more adversely impacted by exposure to CO. The CDC estimates that every year, 400 residents of the United States die from CO exposure, at least 20,000 people will go to their emergency departments for treatment for exposure and about four thousand will have to be hospitalized.
- Are some heaters better (or worse) than others?It is never a good idea to use heating systems that are made to be used outside, inside your home or business. Make sure you have the proper ventilation installed for all of your heating devices such as water heaters. This will keep any CO that is produced from staying in your home or business.
- Clean your chimney.If you have a chimney, get it cleaned at least once a year. Debris can lodge itself in your home and block up your chimney. Every time you use your fireplace, the walls of your chimney become covered in soot. Over time that can mean that more and more CO gets into your home. Having the chimneys cleaned by a professional will reduce the amount of debris and soot that stays on the walls of your chimneys. You should never use tape or a gum like material to patch your vent pipes. This is a sure fire way to keep CO in your home.
- If you run your vehicle in your garage, keep the garage door open.There is a reason people commit suicide by sitting in a running car in a garage. It is dangerous and you should never sit in a running car that is indoors.