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DOH-Polk Warns Against the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

By DOH-Polk Communications

September 08, 2017

As Floridians begin the task of preparing for severe weather or flooding, the Florida Department of Health in Polk and Hardee Counties urges the public to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) exposure by taking precautions with gas-powered appliances and charcoal or gas grills.

Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas. CO may cause fatigue, weakness, chest pains for those with heart disease, shortness of breath upon exertion, nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, lack of coordination, impaired vision, loss of consciousness, and in severe cases, death.

The following precautions are recommended to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Do not burn charcoal or gas grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent, or fireplace.
  • NEVER use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO build-up in the home.
  • ALWAYS locate the generator unit outdoors on a dry surface, away from doors, windows, vents, and air conditioning equipment that could allow CO to come indoors.
  • Follow all instructions that come with your generator.
  • Install battery-operated CO alarms, or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up, in your home, per the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The CO alarms should be certified to the requirements of the latest safety standards for CO alarms (UL 2034, IAS 6-96, or CSA 6.19.01).
  • Test your CO alarms frequently and replace dead batteries.
  • Remember that you cannot see or smell CO, and portable generators can produce high levels of CO very quickly.
  • If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY. DO NOT DELAY.
  • If you have a poisoning emergency, call your nearest Florida Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911 immediately.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

For more information about the Florida Department of Health in Polk County follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/FLHealthPolk or visit polk.floridahealth.gov