The need for every homeowner to install a carbon monoxide detector is becoming increasingly known. Deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning affect about 500 individuals every year in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention; the CDC also indicates that at least as many as 15,000 are hospitalized in a year’s time for carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s not to mention the thousands more that may have been affected but did not know it because their symptoms are so similar to the symptoms of more common and less life-threatening ailments. With that chilling thought in mind, here’s a bit more information about carbon monoxide.
Causes of CO (Carbon Monoxide)
Carbon monoxide is a gas that is produced when there’s not enough oxygen in the air as fuel is burned. The molecules that form can’t form into carbon dioxide, so they become carbon monoxide. And just as you can’t see carbon dioxide, you can’t see carbon monoxide – it’s colorless, tasteless, odorless, and unnoticeable by mankind. It’s also commonly produced in our world. You’ll find it produced naturally in volcanoes and in our atmosphere, and you’ll find it produced by our own technology in cars and heaters and generators. Many products within the home can cause carbon monoxide, which normally does not present a problem because they usually produce such a small amount and the home is ventilated enough. Still, if the ventilation is not adequate, appliances are not used correctly, heaters are not inspected, etc., carbon monoxide concentrations in the home can rise to the point that they become toxic and deadly.
CO poisoning is the result of breathing in too much carbon monoxide. What this does to the body is convert the hemoglobin into carboxyhemoglobin, rendering it useless in redistributing oxygen throughout the body. If there’s nothing to carry the oxygen around, the body’s systems begin to fail. Thus, CO poisoning will usually start with a headache and some nausea and progress to worse things as the concentration gets higher and more and more hemoglobin in your body is converted to carboxyhemoglobin. You’ll go from mild flu-like symptoms to full-on vomiting, dizziness, confusion, and worse. Memory loss and mental problems will arise as the neurological system fails you. Additional health problems will come about, including increased heart rate and decreased blood pressure, unsteady gait, complete disorientation, seizures, and fainting. Finally, CO poisoning will result in death. Of course, not all of these symptoms are manifest in every human being – it varies according to the concentration of CO and the health of the person – but in high concentrations, death will be the result. That’s only if it’s not caught early on so that you can get out!
That is why we need CO alarms in our homes. A carbon monoxide detector can warn you with a shrill, audible ringing when the concentration of CO in your home becomes dangerous to human health, giving you time to get your family and get out of these as quickly as possible. Then you can call the fire department to take care of the situation. With carbon monoxide alarms installed on every floor and near every sleeping room in your house, your lives will be safely guarded and protected. That right there is home security at its finest.