Carbon Monoxide is colorless and odorless — almost impossible to notice and very lethal. Left unchecked, carbon monoxide will build up in your bloodstream leading to severe tissue damage, permanent heart and brain damage, and even death.
Warmth Comes with a Certain Risk
It can get cold in Salt Lake City or anywhere else in Utah. Gas furnaces are constantly lit during winters, but this warmth comes with a hidden danger. Proper furnace installation is essential to the health and safety of your family. In the US, 50,000 people need emergency treatment due to carbon monoxide each year. Most of these cases involve faulty home heating systems and most occur during winter.
Utah hospitals experienced a sharp 25 percent increase in the number of carbon monoxide-related cases during November and January. A clear sign that carbon monoxide safety is not being taken too seriously. A faulty furnace can leak carbon monoxide without your knowledge, and the danger is multiplied if this occurs as you sleep.
Carbon monoxide detectors are essential in every room. These devices can alert you to the invisible presence of carbon monoxide and give you the time to leave the house and call emergency services. Have your furnace inspected by professionals regularly and don’t hesitate to ask for help whenever you feel there may be a leak.
Keyless car systems have raised the instances of carbon monoxide poisonings. While most cars usually need a turn of a key to stop the engine, keyless car systems only require a push of a button. An errant push of a button can immediately get a car’s engine going, creating fumes that can go unnoticed before it’s too late.
Leaks in your car’s exhaust system can also expose you to varying doses of carbon monoxide. You can experience a stuffy feeling or straight out nausea. A punctured floor or trunk can also allow carbon monoxide to enter your car and continuously enter your bloodstream as you drive.
Avoid keeping your engine running in enclosed spaces and check your exhaust pipes for obstruction, especially in snowy or muddy conditions. Get your exhaust systems checked and have your car tuned; a well-tuned car produces drastically less carbon monoxide. Just to be safe, you could keep a small carbon monoxide detector in your vehicle.
Signs to Look Out For
High levels of carbon monoxide can induce dull headaches and nausea. You may experience vertigo or even feel like vomiting. The lack of oxygen can cause weakness in your muscles and shortness of breath. When enough carbon monoxide builds up in your system, you can experience blurred vision, befuddlement, or an inability to think properly. Once you lose consciousness, you might suffer permanent brain injury, so it’s best to leave your house the moment you detect any of these signs.
In the end, carbon monoxide is undetectable without the right tools. Have your furnace and cars checked regularly and install safeguards that can warn you if carbon monoxide is creeping into your house.