Did you know that over 400 Americans die each year from unintentional exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20,000 Americans visit the ER each year, and over 4,000 are hospitalized from exposure to carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide might be an odorless, invisible gas, but it is deadly. By learning to identify the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, tips for preventing your exposure, and when to see a doctor, you might protect your life – or save the life of a loved one.
Early Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Progressed Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Blurry vision
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Loss of consciousness
Doctors are still studying the effects of long-term complications caused by carbon monoxide, but there are some things we do know. Exposure to carbon monoxide –even low levels of it – can cause cardiomyopathy, peripheral artery disease, and neurological issues. The neurological problems can include difficulty speaking, trouble concentrating, memory loss, and tremors. Sometimes, these symptoms can show up much later, which is known as delayed neurologic sequelae (DNS).
When to See a Doctor
If you are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, come to Trusted ER right away. It is important to take this very seriously. Carbon monoxide will stay in your bloodstream and can take a few hours to be removed. If you suspect you have been affected by carbon monoxide, go outside into fresh air immediately.
Once you’re at Trusted ER, try to recount the moments leading up to your symptoms. This will help us confirm whether or not you are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home and replace batteries twice yearly. Put the detector somewhere it will wake you up at night if it were to go off, like in your bedroom or just outside of it. Replace your detector every five years.
- Be sure to have your heating systems, water heaters, gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances checked by a professional annually.
- Get your chimney checked and cleaned annually. If chimneys are blocked by any debris, it can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide inside your home.
- Never run your car inside your garage without the garage door open to let in fresh air.
- Do not use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage, unless it’s less than 20 feet to the nearest window, door, or vent.
If you suspect you have been exposed to carbon monoxide, step into fresh air immediately and come into to Trusted ER immediately.