Health Watch -- Carbon Monoxide

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Keeping your home nice and toasty this holiday season may increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center say such poisoning is to blame for a rise in illnesses and deaths this time of year.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that's produced from burning wood and natural gas in improperly installed or used devices like a fireplace, heater or stove. If you inhale too much carbon monoxide, you can develop a headache, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and nausea. Prolonged exposure can be fatal.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure all fireplaces, hot water heaters, heaters and stoves are properly installed and working right. A carbon monoxide detector, which can be plugged into a wall outlet, will go off if there's a rise in carbon monoxide levels. If that happens, it's time to get outside.


Dec. 2004

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