Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
CO is a poison that can be deadly at high levels. At moderate levels (according to the EPA), you or your family can get severe headaches, become dizzy, mentally confused, nauseated or faint. You can even die if these levels persist for an extended period of time. Low levels can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea and mild headaches, and may have longer term effects on your health. Since many of these symptoms are similar to those of the flu, food poisoning or other illnesses, you may not think that CO poisoning could be the cause.
What to do if you are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.
If you or anyone in your family is experiencing these symptoms, and you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately:
- Get everyone (pets, too!) out of the house and into the fresh air
- Call 911 or your local fire department for immediate medical help
- Then call a qualified contractor or your gas utility to have your appliances checked. There is a charge if Consumers Energy performs this service unless you are enrolled in our Carbon Monoxide Protection Plan
- Do not re-enter the house under any circumstance until help has arrived, your house has been investigated and the problem corrected
Some early warning signs that may indicate the presence of carbon monoxide.
- Stale or stuffy air
- Absence of a draft in the chimney or other appliance vent
- Excessive moisture on windows and walls
- Soot buildup around your appliance vents
- Rust or corrosion around vent pipes or appliance jackets
- Yellow/orange flame on burners of gas appliances
- Read the latest news and information on CO-related topics.
Learn more at www.michigan.gov/carbonmonoxide and www.cdc.gov/co/guidelines.htm.
What to do if your carbon monoxide alarm sounds.
Do not panic. Follow this procedure:
- Check to see if anyone is experiencing the symptoms described above. If they are, get immediate medical help
- Call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Service (EMS)
- Then call your gas utility or other qualified contractor to have your appliances checked. There may be a charge for this service
If there is no emergency, evaluate the situation and:
- Open all doors and windows to vent your home
- Turn your furnace thermostat to its lowest setting
- Turn off all un-vented appliances (your range, an auxiliary heater, etc.)
- Turn your gas or propane water heater to its lowest setting
- Check any flues for obstructions
- Check for soot at the base of the water heater and furnace
- Check for a vehicle or small engine operating in an attached garage or basement
- Check that the carbon monoxide alarm is functioning properly, press the test/reset button
- If the problem persists and no one is ill, call your gas utility or another qualified contractor to check your appliances. There may be a charge for this service