Understanding Risks of Carbon Monoxide in Massachusetts Homes

On average, more than 165 people are killed each year as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are thousands more who end up in hospital emergency rooms from the odorless, colorless gas. This dangerous gas interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels. Kerosene heaters, generators and other winter heat sources are a primary threat.
Breathed over long periods of time, low concentrations of CO may also contribute to other illness. Luckily, there are a few simple measures that you can take to prevent these problems and injuries. One of the most common of the preventative measures is to install a CO alarm to detect potentially deadly conditions.

Our Stoughton personal injury attorneys know this dangerous gas can come from many devices we have in our homes. They can include fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, gas or kerosene space heaters, boilers, gas cooking stoves, water heaters, clothes dryers, fireplaces, charcoal grills, wood stoves, lawn mowers, power generators, camp stoves, motor vehicles and some power tools with internal combustion engines. Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever).

Carbon monoxide symptoms are similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and simply tiredness. That’s why it’s quite common for people to mistake this very dangerous poisoning for something else.

Other symptoms include:

-Shortness of breath
-Loss of consciousness
-Loss of muscular coordination
-Mental confusion
Carbon monoxide bonds to hemoglobin in red blood cells, interfering with the capacity of the hemoglobin to transport oxygen throughout the body.

At moderate concentrations, angina, impaired vision, and reduced brain function may result. At higher concentrations, CO exposure can be fatal.

But don’t worry because there are ways that you can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning risks in your home. A good tip is to decrease your hot water supply. You might also want to consider getting rid of that constantly-running furnace. When in your garage, make sure that your car idles for a minimal amount of time. In these cases, the fumes can build up quicker than you can imaging and can make their way to your living areas.

Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters (catalytic) indoors. Although these heaters don’t have a flame, they burn gas and can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.

Avoid using a gas oven to heat your home. Never sleep in a room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.

Lastly, you want to keep an eye on the symptoms mentioned above. If you notice any of them, seek medical attention or advice immediately. To help to prevent the symptoms, all homes should have at least one carbon monoxide alarm. If you have several sleeping areas in your home, you should consider more than one alarm.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a traffic accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 888-367-2900.

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