Sat. May 25th, 2024

Household Carbon Monoxide – the Silent Killer

Is Household Carbon Monoxide Really That Dangerous?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced when fuels like coal, wood, gasoline, propane, and natural gas are burned. CO can be deadly, and exposure to it can cause symptoms ranging from headaches and dizziness to loss of consciousness and even death. Because of this, many people are concerned about the potential dangers of household carbon monoxide. In this article, we will explore the risks associated with carbon monoxide and what steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

First, it is important to understand the health risks associated with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in the blood, preventing it from carrying oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues. This can cause a range of symptoms, including headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, and weakness. In severe cases, exposure to high levels of CO can result in loss of consciousness and even death.

The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is particularly high in enclosed spaces, such as homes and garages, where fuels are burned. Carbon monoxide can build up to dangerous levels in these spaces if ventilation is poor or if there is a malfunctioning or improperly installed fuel-burning appliance. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to those of other illnesses, such as the flu, which can make it difficult to identify. This is why carbon monoxide is often referred to as the “silent killer.”

So, is household carbon monoxide really that dangerous? The answer is yes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 400 Americans die each year from unintentional CO poisoning, and more than 20,000 visit the emergency room. These numbers are likely an underestimate, as CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose and is often mistaken for other illnesses.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide. The first step is to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. These detectors should be placed on every level of your home and outside of sleeping areas. Make sure to test your detectors regularly and replace the batteries at least once a year.

It is also important to have your fuel-burning appliances, such as your furnace, boiler, or water heater, inspected and serviced annually by a qualified professional. This can help to identify and address any issues before they become a problem. Additionally, make sure that any fuel-burning appliances are properly installed and vented to the outside.

If you use a fireplace or wood stove in your home, make sure that the chimney is cleaned and inspected regularly. A dirty or blocked chimney can cause CO to build up in your home, so it is important to keep it clean.

Finally, be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and act quickly if you or a family member experiences them. If you suspect that you have been exposed to carbon monoxide, leave the area immediately and call 911 or your local fire department.

In conclusion, household carbon monoxide is indeed a very real and very dangerous threat. However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. By installing carbon monoxide detectors, having your fuel-burning appliances inspected and serviced, and being aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning, you can help to keep your home and your loved ones safe. Don’t wait until it’s too late – take action today to protect yourself from this silent killer.


By Chala Dandessa

I am Lecturer, Researcher and Freelancer. I am the founder and Editor at ETHIOPIANS TODAY website. If you have any comment use as email contact. Additionally you can contact us through the contact page of

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