Carbon Monoxide Awareness

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Carbon monoxide poisoning kills hundreds of Americans every year. But the colorless, odorless gas is especially deadly in the winter.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 36 percent of carbon monoxide deaths occur in December, January and February.

“Carbon Monoxide is often generated from heat-producing appliances. So as you can imagine, in the wintertime, furnaces are running quite often and we’re not running those in the summertime,” said Naperville Fire Department Bureau Chief James Kubinski. “Those heat producing appliances and hot water heaters, the by-products of that combustion is what releases that carbon monoxide.”

The good news is it’s an easy accident to prevent. Tips include installing a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, having all gas, oil, and coal-burning appliances inspected every year, and not leaving a running car in the garage, even if the door is open.

But if you think you or someone you’re with is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. Signs include a severe headache and flushed skin.

“It is absolutely an immediate emergency,” said Kubinski. “Carbon monoxide can actually cause your blood cells to not get the oxygen they need by former a sheath on the outside with those molecules of the CO. And I know that’s a little technical but getting that out of the bloodstream is extremely important and urgent so calling 9-1-1 is most important.”

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.

For more on carbon monoxide, watch this story from 2015.