Oswego County News Release
Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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October 29, 2007

Carbon Monoxide Dangers Increase with Cold Weather

OSWEGO - With cold weather approaching, the Oswego County Health Department reminds residents of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Known in the chemistry world as CO, carbon monoxide is a deadly toxic gas that has no odor, smell or color. CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those made by cars and trucks, lanterns, stoves, gas ranges and heating systems. CO from these fumes can build up in places that don't have a good flow of fresh air.

“This elusive substance can leak into your house through many different ways, especially when the temperature starts to drop,” said Kathleen Smith, Public Health director of the Oswego County Health Department. “Without any signs detectable by human senses, CO detectors are essential in preventing carbon monoxide poisoning.”

When carbon monoxide poisoning begins to affect a person, symptoms can include nausea, headache, and dizziness which can easily be mistaken for the flu, another common wintertime illness. Other symptoms include loss of consciousness, shortness of breath, and loss of muscle control.

Here are some strategies to help prevent carbon monoxide exposure, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas-, oil-, or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.

  • Install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.

  • If your CO detector sounds, evacuate your home immediately and telephone 911.

  • Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.

  • Do not use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, garage or near a window.

  • Do not run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.

  • Do not burn anything in a stove or fireplace that is not vented.

  • Do not heat your house with a gas oven.

For more information, visit the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov.

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