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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Dangers

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

How can you tell if there is carbon monoxide in one's home?



Dear Worried,

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly gas that is an odorless and colorless, and therefore difficult to detect in the home. Some symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to that of other illnesses: headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, weakness, and confusion. If the CO levels are high, then eventual loss of consciousness and death occurs.

Inexpensive carbon monoxide detectors are available in stores, and it would be a good idea to have one or more in your home along with your smoke detectors.

Also, the Centers for Disease Control ( recommends these five precautions:

1. Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home;

2. Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper;

3. Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented;

4. Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine outside of an open window or door where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area;

5. Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or semi-enclosed space, such as a closed garage.

See for more detailed information.