Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Or Common Cold? - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Or Common Cold?

Posted: Updated:

 By: Claire Powell


Carbon monoxide poisoning is odorless and lethal and can kill a person in minutes.

Did you know it has the same symptoms as a common cold?

"A dull headache, dizzyness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and confusion," said Mike Whitsell, West Des Moines Fire Marshal.

All of those are symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. The leak can seep out of furnaces, water heaters, stoves, burning fireplaces and anything that uses natural gas as its' fuel source.

"Anything with a combustion appliance, like a furnace or natural gas water heater, you've got that gas combusting. If that gas is allowed to leak out into the home itself, that's where you get your poisoning," said Ben Holt, Holt Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

These appliances need to have a clear path for an exhaust, like a clean chimney for a fireplace.

Different amounts of carbon monoxide leaked into a home can affect everyone differently.  

"Everyone is different with how much carbon monoxide they can tolerate. You have to factor in your body size your age," said Whitsell.

It also easily affects the young and elderly. The best way to avoid poisoning your home is to have a detector or a monitor.  

"Be proactive. Look in your home. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? If you do, has it been checked, is it battery operated? If it is get new batteries in there," said Whitsell.

Be sure to have your heating and cooling systems checked once a year.

"It's especially safe to have a certified contractor in once a year on the furnace and air conditioner side to make sure they're looking at their HVC equipment," said Holt.

It's also important to keep those monitors at eye level or above because carbon monoxide rises. You should also have a detector on every level of your home and near your main bedroom.


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