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What You Need To Know About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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File photo of ambulance. (Photo by: Nichole Jaworski/CBS Charlotte)

File photo of ambulance. (Photo by: Nichole Jaworski/CBS Charlotte)

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(CBS Charlotte) — In light of three deaths over the last couple of months at the Best Western Hotel in Boone, North Carolina, we felt it was important to highlight the hidden dangers of carbon monoxide — and its sources.

For starters, North Carolina law does not require hotels to have carbon monoxide detectors. If the Best Western had installed carbon monoxide detectors, all three deaths would have likely been prevented.

(Related Article: Elderly Couple, Rock Hill Boy Died From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Hotel Room)

The biggest danger associated with carbon monoxide is that unlike a fire, you cannot see or smell CO. It is colorless and odorless. However, moderate exposure to CO can have damaging effects on your health, and in some cases, can even cause death.

According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) nearly 400 Americans die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning most often occurs when there is a CO leak that is trapped in a poorly ventilated area. In a CO environment, a person’s body is unable to acquire enough oxygen — and the lack of oxygen may trigger headaches, confusion, lethargy, blurred vision, and vomiting.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can come from many different sources, including but not limited to, gas stoves/fireplaces, gas water heaters, charcoal grills, tobacco smoke, generators, and automobiles.

Here are ways to reduce your chances of carbon monoxide poisoning:

- First and foremost, buy a carbon monoxide detector and install it in your home immediately. After all, a carbon monoxide detector can save your life.

- Never use a charcoal grill inside your home. Additionally, when grilling outdoors, the grill should be far enough away from your house so that carbon monoxide does not leak inside.

- Never use a generator indoors.

- When not in use, turn the pilot light off in your gas fireplace.

- Never leave your car running inside your garage, even if the garage door is open.

- Have all of your gas appliances and gas water-heater/fireplace inspected on a regular basis.

-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte

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