MDHHS: Follow these precautions to protect against CO poisoning

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Posted at 10:59 AM, Nov 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-03 17:43:28-04

LANSING, Mich. — The state health department is reminding Michiganders to inspect their carbon monoxide (CO) detectors to ensure they are in working order.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) says the end of daylight saving time is a good time to check CO detectors as temperatures begin to drop.

Often dubbed the “silent killer,” CO is poisonous as well as odorless, colorless and tasteless. They are usually caused by appliances that haven’t been properly vented or maintained, according to the MDHHS. Such appliances include furnaces, gas grills, generators, space heaters, water heaters, lanterns, dryers, gas stoves, fireplaces and chimneys.

“Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include flu-like symptoms – headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, confusion and nausea,” says Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian. “If you think you have been exposed, it is important to get into an area with fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.”

We’re told roughly 50,000 Americans check in to the emergency department every year for CO poisoning, including 1,090 in Michigan during 2019.

The state warns CO poisoning can lead to death in a matter of minutes.

MDHHS advises residents to take the following precautions against CO poisoning:

  • Install CO detectors and make sure they work properly, preferably on every level of your residence.
  • Swap out batteries every six months and replace detectors every five years.
  • When no outlets are available — such as when camping — use a battery-powered CO detector when burning fuel.
  • Hire an expert to inspect furnaces and wood-burning stoves.
  • Operate generators at least 20 feet from your residence; NEVER operate indoors.
  • Never let a car run in an enclosed area.
  • Never light a grill of any type indoors.

Visit the state of Michigan’s website for more information.

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READ MORE: ‘I never pulled the generator away’: Firefighter grateful for carbon monoxide detector

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