Death by Air

Carbon monoxide poisoning in Maryland

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning was the cause of death for over 16,000 Americans between 1999 and 2004.  In February of this year, a Prince George County family of five was airlifted to a Baltimore Hospital after suffering near-fatal carbon monoxide poisoning due to a malfunctioning furnace.   The damage and danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is often not apparent until it is too late.  Why?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas.  Undetectable to human senses, CO bonds easily with red blood cells, resulting in oxygen starvation and tissue death.  Even low levels of CO are dangerous, quickly causing brain, lung, muscle and tissue damage.

CO is produced through burning fuels like natural gas, wood, kerosene, oil, coal, and gasoline.  Often mistaken for cold or flu, symptoms of CO poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath

In enclosed spaces like the home, garage, or a tent, CO builds up quickly.  Cars, trucks, boats, stoves, camping equipment, and lanterns create CO, and poorly or improperly maintained furnace and other heaters cause tragic, unnecessary deaths every year.

Stay safe around CO.  Install CO detectors on each floor of your house—install new batteries with Daylight Savings Time changes.

Personal injury and product liability cases are brought against manufacturers, property owners, service professionals and others for injury and death caused by CO poisoning.  But compared to injury compensation, prevention is priceless.

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