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Carbon Monoxide: The Silent, Odorless Killer


Carbon monoxide is a very serious threat when the temperatures drop. Be sure you and your family members are protected against this silent killer.

Air Date: 1/31/14
Duration: 10
Host: Dr. Leigh Vinocur
Guest Bio: Eric Lavonas, MD

Dr. Eric Lavonas is an emergency physician at Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. He’s also the associate director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, and an expert in toxicology. Dr. Lavonas is also an ACEP spokesperson.

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent, Odorless Killer

One common problem when the weather turns cold is carbon monoxide poison.

Dr. Eric Lavonas, director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, speaks about the silent killer: carbon monoxide.

The name alone speaks to the severity of this poison, as it is the #1 poison that is likely to kill you.

Carbon monoxide leaks are not detectable by smell or sight.

Every home should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector; it could save your life. They will detect high levels of gas and allow you to get out of the home long before any loss of consciousness or life-threatening risks set in.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can often mimic symptoms of the flu; however, it does not cause fever. So if you have more than one person in your household sick with no fever it could very well be CO2 poisoning.

Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Stomach aches and diarrhea

Some other helpful hints include:

  • If you are stuck in a car, make sure your tailpipe is clear and be aware of above symptoms.
  • Do not bring CO2 sources, such as propane tanks or grills into your home to use them as heating sources.
  • Do not leave running cars in your garage, especially attached garages.

The absolute best bet to protect you and your family is to install a detector and check them monthly to ensure a working monitor.

Be smart and safe this winter!