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COHere in Massachusetts we’re heading into the dead of winter. Temperatures are getting colder every day, and many of us are cranking up the heat at home.

That’s why it’s important to take steps now to make sure your home and family are safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.

What’s Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas that is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. Sometimes carbon monoxide is called “CO”.

You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide. That’s what makes it dangerous. When carbon monoxide gets trapped in spaces that are not properly aired out, it can make you very sick – or even kill you.

In fact, each year more than 20,000 Americans have to go to the hospital because of CO poisoning. And more than 400 people die from it. People who suffer from CO poisoning may feel headache, dizziness, loss of consciousness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

How to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning in your home:

  • Make sure your furnace is working properly and is regularly checked by a professional.
  • Make sure your chimneys are checked or cleaned every year.
  • Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check and/or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
  • Leave your home right away if the CO detector goes off Call 911 from a neighbor’s home or your cellphone.
  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home
  • Never use a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.

How to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning around your car:

  • Never leave a car running in in a garage or other enclosed space.
  • Shoveling out your car after a snowstorm? Clear out all of the snow underneath the car and especially around the tailpipe before starting the engine.

Written By:


WIC Program Evaluator

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