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Conquering Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


Did you know that more than 500 people in the United States die from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning each year? That more than 10,000 people seek medical attention for CO poisoning each year? That infants, people with lung or heart disease or people with anemia are more seriously affected?

What is It?

Carbon monoxide is a gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, and can be fatal when breathed. The symptoms that occur with carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu and allergies. These similarities often lead to an incorrect diagnosis, such as a migraine headache, stroke, food poisoning or heart disease.


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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is Caused By:


  • Operating fuel-burning products such as electrical generators without proper ventilation. Some of these products may be used indoors near an open window, and others may not be used indoors at all. Look at the manufacturers’ instructions before operating any fuel-burning device in your home.

  • Car exhaust entering the home from the garage.

  • Combustion equipment such as furnaces or hot water heaters that are not working properly or have blocked exhaust systems.
What can you do?
  • Make sure fuel burning appliances are installed by a professional and are working properly.

  • Never run your car in a closed garage and move cars out of attached garages immediately after starting them.

  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.

  • Choose vented appliances (like gas fireplaces) whenever possible.

  • Have your heating systems and chimneys inspected and cleaned by a qualified technician every year.

  • Replace dirty air filters on heating and cooling systems.

  • Never run a generator, pressure washer or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented.

  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern or portable camping stove inside a home, tent or camper.

  • Make sure there is good ventilation at all times — install proper ventilation for interior combustion appliances, and consider installing air exchangers or air conditioning for “tightly-sealed” homes.

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas.



HHI Error Correction Policy

HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed on this site, HHI provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed on or in conjunction with the site. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HHI: its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

Conquering Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:  Created on February 17th, 2007.  Last Modified on October 31st, 2009


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