(NewsNation Now) — We hear about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning every year, especially in winter when people are trying to heat their homes and might be using things like poorly vented wood stoves, gas ovens or other unapproved or unwise methods to heat their homes.
We also hear about carbon monoxide poisoning after natural disasters, when people use generators to power their homes. Often to protect the generators from theft, people will put them somewhere they can be secured such as inside an attached garage or in the house itself. It doesn’t take long for the gas engine to pump out enough fumes to be deadly.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year more than 4,000 people are hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
The symptoms can come on quickly, and appear flu-like with headache, dizziness, upset stomach and vomiting. Chest pains and confusion can also be part of the mix. This is problematic if you’re asleep or intoxicated, because the symptoms can creep up on you and have you in trouble before you know it.
While 4,000 people are hospitalized every year for carbon monoxide poisoning, roughly 50,000 will visit the emergency room because of it. An estimated 430 people die from the hazard every year.
Safety experts strongly encourage properly installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home and making sure to check the batteries every six months just as you do with your smoke alarm. Your local fire department can help advise you on the best places to put the detectors, and might even install them for you depending on your location.