ROCHESTER, Minn- Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is deadly all year round. During the winter it becomes a particular threat since the weather is freezing outside. Gear like space heaters, furnaces, and stoves are the sources of warmth people use when the weather is cold out but they also pose risks.
According to the CDC, at least 430 people die in the U.S. from Carbon Monoxide poisoning each year and approximately 50,000 get rushed to the ER for treatment. Dr. David Claypool is a Consultant for Mayo Clinic's Department of Emergency Medicine. He tells KIMT News 3 what creates the poisonous, colorless, odorless and tasteless gas.
"Anything that causes heat or fire, will generate Carbon Monoxide. That would be your furnace in your house, your car, and anything you use heat with."
That's not the only thing that can cause the deadly gas.
"Another cause might be a blocked off vent to an appliance on a home," said RFD Firefighter Isaac Molin. "Even though we don't have a very deep snowbase, we still have snow that might drift. That can build up and might block a horizontal exhaust pipe for a water
heater and that will back up those toxic fumes."
During the winter, it's also important to warm up your car outside instead of inside your garage. Warming it up inside can build up the gas very quickly.
While symptoms can be hard to recognize, Dr. Claypool urges everyone to have a Carbon Monoxide detector.
"You can get those almost any place," said Dr. Claypool. " They plug right into the wall and those will tell you your in trouble long before you get symptoms."
According to Claypool, when subjected to the gas, people can receive headaches, nausea, and confusion. They can also get confused and not understand what is going on.
Each house should have a detector on each level and one within 10 feet of each sleeping room.