Carbon Monoxide Safety Week Reminds Us How To Prevent CO Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide Safety Week is October 23rd to October 29th this year in Michigan promoted by Gov. Rick Snyder. The most tragic part about carbon monoxide poisoning is that it is entirely preventable. Part of it is simply knowing what the warning signs are.

carbon monoxide safety week

Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. In addition, get your furnace checked to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. (Flickr / Creative Commons / HeatherMG)

Although carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless, the warning signs include headaches, nausea, vomiting, confusion, memory loss, disorientation, balance problems, and dizziness. Recognizing these symptoms when they occur can save lives.

The symptoms can be considered flu-like, but it’s essential that the affected people get to fresh air immediately and not take a nap, where they can be further exposed to the toxic gas.

Brain damage can worsen in the days and weeks following the initial poisoning. These problems include memory loss, confusion, seizures, urinary incontinence, loss of bowel function, disorientation, hallucinations, psychosis, balance problems and dizziness.

Another way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, in addition to recognizing the symptoms, is to have a working carbon monoxide detector in the home.

The carbon monoxide law in Michigan requires that a carbon monoxide detector be placed in each single-family dwelling or within each unit of a multi-family dwelling in all new construction in the vicinity of the bedrooms. The law became effective March 23, 2009. It was named the “Overbeck Law,” after Patty and Gene Overbeck, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2003 in their Elk Lake retirement home.

Consumers Energy, a Michigan gas and electric company, has provided tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning as part of their website. With winter coming up, be sure to check that your furnace vents are free of ice and snow after a winter storm. Blocked vents could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Also, never operate a generator indoors, in a garage, or in a crawl space. Proper ventilation is essential in preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, make sure to have your fuel-burning appliances serviced every year. With winter coming, it may be important to have your furnace checked.

Consumers Energy recommends replacing the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors when you change your clocks in the fall and the spring. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and are experiencing symptoms, seek medical attention immediately, and get to fresh air right away.


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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