A Silent Killer – Carbon Monoxide

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 9:49 AM comments (0)

Carbon-MonoxideKeeping tabs on the safety of your home often falls by the wayside with all the other tasks and chores in our daily lives. However, failure to take the proper safety precautions can lead to injury, illness and sometimes even death.

While it’s easy to ensure that common household items are out of way and properly stored, used and discarded, there are some risks that you can't see at all. Carbon monoxide poisoning is very dangerous and because the gas is odorless and colorless, it's hard to detect without proper monitoring.

Jerrold Leikin, MD, Medical Toxicologist, shares the following tips for reducing your carbon monoxide poisoning risks:

  • Get a UL-approved carbon monoxide detector. First and foremost, if you don’t already have a carbon monoxide monitor installed in your home, do so immediately. If you do have one, be sure to check and change the batteries frequently. You should also plan to test it on a regular basis.
  • Install your detector properly. Detectors should be placed away from windows and drafty areas. Outside air can offset readings and reduce effectiveness. You should also avoid installing a detector in your bathroom, over your oven range or any another high-humidity area.
  • Place all detectors within several feet of sleeping areas. It is recommended to have a detector on every level of your home. A basement detector should be installed at the top of the stairs.
  • Get your furnace and other gas appliances checked out annually. Having an expert evaluate your appliances can help identify leaks and other health hazards. Make sure you’re using appliances correctly; outdoor grills should never be used inside your home.
  • Know the symptoms and act fast if you suspect you may have poisoning. Some of these symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea and confusion. Symptoms may not always be present and/or may not be distinguishable. If several members of the household notice similar symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.


Do you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home? How frequently do you check it?


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