Along with the change from daylight saving time over the weekend, did you remember to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Dr. Ian Tullberg, Urgent Care Medical Director with UCHealth in Colorado Springs has a few important and basic reminders of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Dr. Tullberg says the first thing to recognize is that carbon monoxide is something you must have a CO2 detector to be aware of.
"It's odorless, colorless, tasteless. It's just there and we can't sense it until we start really getting some of the symptoms that come with it."
Carbon monoxide is common because it has so many sources in our homes says Dr. Tullberg.
"Carbon monoxide is a chemical that is put out anytime there is combustion. So a furnace, a car, a candle, anytime there is a flame going on, or if there is any type of combustion you will have carbon monoxide released. The problem in the body is that your red blood cells that carry the oxygen to all your other tissue, likes carbon monoxide hundreds of times more than oxygen. It will gobble up that carbon monoxide and hold onto that as opposed to regular oxygen and you will basically asphyxiate yourself."
Besides being hard to detect the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are also subtle and hard to self diagnose, but Dr. Tullberg says there are some things to look out for.
"Number one many of those symptoms you won't know about until you fall asleep. Things like headache, nausea, those flu like symptoms are the key. You can start having a little altered consciousness, it will also put many folks asleep and then do damage after you’re asleep.”
If you didn't change to batteries in your carbon monoxide detector along with the time change make sure to do it. Also going forward remember the time change in the spring and the fall are good reminders to change the batteries. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, get one and keep the batteries changed. It’s one of the the basic ways you can keep your home and your family safe.