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Red Cross Carbon Monoxide Safety Brochure Keeping Your Family Safe. Everyday.

Is Your Family Safe From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Carbon monoxide can be formed when any common fuel is burned, including natural gas, wood, oil or coal. As the weather gets colder, the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning increases. As many as one-quarter of patients who go to hospital emergency departments with flu-like or more severe symptoms may actually have been exposed to CO. High exposures may even cause brain damage or death.
Because CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating gas, it can go undetected. With some understanding and prevention, you can protect your family from an unnecessary risk.

Have your heating equipment professionally inspected and serviced yearly by a certified heating contractor.

The Effects of Carbon Monoxide

CO can build up in the body over time. Longer exposures to lower amounts may actually be worse than a short duration of a higher amount. Signs and symptoms of CO poisoning include:

  • headache
  • tiredness
  • nausea/vomiting
  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • poor memory
  • slower reaction time
  • poor judgment
  • slower motor function
  • weakness & decreased muscle control

If you suspect you have been exposed:

  • Seek a well-ventilated area immediately.
  • If symptoms are severe or persist, get medical attention or call 911.
  • Call a service contractor to check your house for problems.

For more information (Greater Cincinnati Area), please contact The American Red Cross Carbon Monoxide Task Force at 513-579-3988 or The Drug and Poison Information Center, 24-hour number at 1-800-872-5111 or 513-558-5111. Learn more about the American Red Cross.

With some understanding and prevention, you can protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.