Editorial: Protect yourself from the silent killer

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, November 5, 2017

It’s known as a colorless, odorless gas that can kill you.

Carbon monoxide, found in fumes produced any time you burn any fuel, such as natural gas, propane, gasoline, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal, can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide poisoning each year kills more than 150 people in the United States and sends 20,000 people to the emergency room.

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Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include flu-like systems of headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

In light of National Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Awareness Week through Sunday, there are several things you can do to protect you and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

• Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and make sure it works every spring and fall when you change the time on your clocks.

• Have your heating system, water heater and other gas, oil or coal-burning appliances checked every year by a qualified technician.

• Don’t use portable, flameless chemical heaters indoors.

• Make sure gas appliances are vented properly.

• Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys blocked by debris can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside your home.

• Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum or something else.

• Never use a gas range or oven for heating.

• Never burn charcoal indoors.

• Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors.

• Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent.

• Never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house, even with the garage door open.

• Have your exhaust system on your vehicle checked every year.