Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

By Karlin McGarvey

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is emitted from engines that burn gas such as cars, stoves, furnaces, or fireplaces. If inhaled for a long period of time, you will get carbon monoxide poisoning, which could cause severe illness or death.

Health Effects

If someone is exposed to carbon monoxide for too long, they may feel flu-like symptoms such as headache, stomach ache, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, tightness of the chest, or confusion. The harmful gas causes lack of oxygen to vital organs, such as the brain and heart, which could lead to the person passing out or dying. Always call 911 if you or someone else has symptoms like these to ensure theirs, and your health and safety.


At the hospital, doctors will give the person an oxygen mask, or if they are in very severe condition, they may have to be put in a hyperbaric chamber, a room where the oxygen is pressurized, in order to raise blood oxygen levels quicker. Always go to the emergency room if you think you may have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
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To protect you and others from carbon monoxide poisoning, have your water heater, furnace, or any other gas burning system checked annually by a professional to make sure they aren't leaking carbon monoxide gas. Another way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to purchase carbon monoxide detectors for each floor of your home. If this deadly gas is detected, they will alert you to get out of your house immediately. This inexpensive piece of equipment has the potential to save the life of you and others.

Other Easy Ways to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

  • always turn off your car
  • never run generators indoors
  • change batteries in detectors
  • don't leave fireplaces on for long periods of time

Works Cited

"Carbon Monoxide." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2015.

"Carbon Monoxide Poisoning." New York Times. Ed. Eric Perez. New York Times, 13 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 08 Apr. 2015.

Mohney, Gillian. "Deadly Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: How You Can Protect Yourself." ABC News. ABC News Network, 7 Apr. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.