LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — It’s prime season for people to accidentally expose themselves to the poisonous gas, carbon monoxide. IU Health Arnett Dr. Hans Steck said you may be able to prevent a trip to the hospital.
“Carbon monoxide is a gas product whenever you really burn anything,” Steck said.
He said a generator, furnace or stove may be releasing the gas that can’t be seen or smelled, without your knowledge.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 170 Americans die every year from the invisible gas.
“The main thing that is gonna prevent you from being exposed unintentionally to carbon monoxide is a carbon monoxide detector,” said Steck.
If you already have the device, make sure your batteries are up to date.
“Certainly, having your furnace serviced regularly is one thing that you can do, ensuring that your home is well ventilated is another thing,” he said.
If you have been exposed, Steck said you may get a headache, feel weak and lose energy.
“Now, once it starts to get extreme, if the carbon monoxide levels have gotten very high in your body, you could also have symptoms like chest pain, coughing, confusion,” said Steck. “But the hallmark symptoms are kinda like you have the flu almost.”
If you think you may have been exposed, it’s important to go to the hospital. Doctors will check your carbon monoxide levels and give you oxygen therapy to wash the gas out of your body.
“I have not had to treat anyone this year yet. But again, it’s been a fairly warm fall,” Steck said. “So, people are just now turning their furnaces on, just now starting to make fires.”
As the days get colder, anyone is at risk of getting carbon monoxide poisoning.