3 Things to Know About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Winter is a beautiful time of the year, but as we Minnesotans know, it’s also brutally cold at times. Because of the freezing and subzero temperatures, furnaces and other heating appliances have to work harder to keep up.
When people think of appliances working too hard, they think about higher energy bills. But while that’s certainly a problem, there’s potential for a much more serious consequence.
The biggest risk is that these heat sources can also be the origin of carbon monoxide leaks, which can stem from faulty furnace installations, leaking propane sources or outdated equipment.
Because these leaks can lead to serious health issues, we want to remind you of a few key details about carbon monoxide.
1. It’s Easy to Miss
One of the big reasons carbon monoxide gas is dangerous is that it’s imperceptible. Humans can’t see or smell it, which is why it’s referred to as the “silent killer,” and we need monitors to alert us to its presence.
According to Minnesota law, “Every home is required to have at least one operating CO alarm within 10 feet of every room used for sleeping.” To keep your family safe, we urge you to abide by this regulation.
2. Carbon Monoxide Exposure Can Lead to Serious Health Issues
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can seem similar to the flu (nausea, headaches and fatigue, among others), which can be problematic during the wintertime since people might not consider going to the doctor for such common symptoms. But high levels of exposure can result in permanent cognitive deficits or worse.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, there were 2,068 emergency department visits from 2015 to 2020 as a result of carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning. Of those visits, 248 cases were severe enough to need hospitalization, and 70 resulted in death from carbon monoxide poisoning.
3. Poisoning Can Happen Indoors and Outdoors
Many people assume carbon monoxide poisoning happens only indoors. While it’s true that gas is produced by material and fuel-burning appliances inside homes and other buildings, it can also harm people outdoors.
For instance, using a fuel-burning, portable generator or lanterns while camping can cause a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if used in or near your tent. Ice houses can also be at risk due to the heating and cooking equipment in them, which is why ice house windows should be cracked and CO alarms should be installed.
A good general rule is to always ensure proper ventilation and install CO detectors when burning fuel or using other heating and cooking gear, no matter where you are.
We Can Help You With Your Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Lawsuit
Have you or a loved one been exposed to carbon monoxide and suffered a life-threatening injury or worse as a result? You could qualify for financial compensation.
At the Law Office of Daniel J. Brazil, we help individuals and families whose lives have been altered by carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 612-874-6109 or send us a message.