Carbon Monoxide detectors are worth having because they could save your life!
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is created during the combustion process. Combustion occurs when your oil or gas furnace comes on to heat your house and occurs when you operate your fireplace, gas range in the kitchen, or your gas hot water heater. If these devices are not properly cleaned, or the combustion by-products are not properly vented, they could build up in the house and you might not know it. This could be especially deadly at night when everyone is asleep.
To prevent poisoning by carbon monoxide gas, one carbon monoxide gas detector should be placed in the bedroom area. A second one is recommended in the area of the oil or gas furnace to afford additional protection. Although more expensive than smoke detectors, they are well worth the money!
Recognizing the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is known as the great imitator because a mild exposure to it can mimic the flu, causing a slight headache, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. These symptoms often are misdiagnosed by residents as well as doctors in hospital emergency rooms. One of the ways to distinguish between the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and the flu is to determine whether all the family members or occupants of a building are experiencing the symptoms at the same time. If everyone has the symptoms, suspect carbon monoxide poisoning: the flu usually does not afflict all occupants at the same time.
A medium exposure to carbon monoxide can cause severe headache, drowsiness, confusion, and a fast heart rate. These symptoms might be mistaken for those of substance abuse. The confusion resulting from exposure to carbon monoxide can prevent a victim from leaving a contaminated atmosphere even if the danger is realized.
Extreme exposure will result in unconsciousness convulsions, heart and lung failure, and death. Severe exposure to carbon monoxide can produce long-term neurological effects, whereas chronic low-level exposure is thought to be complicit in causing heart disease to develop. Don't expect to see the so-called classic cherry red coloration of a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. Doctors who treat carbon monoxide victims say that it is rare. Victims are more likely to appear pale or cyanotic.