Carbon monoxide (CO) causes upward of 400 deaths and results in the hospitalization of more than 4,000 people each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many of those falling ill don’t know they have CO poisoning because it is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. With proper inspection and housekeeping, Scouts and community members alike can prevent CO poisoning.
Causes of CO Release and Exposure
CO is a byproduct of many of your day-to-day activities. It is found in the fumes from gas stoves and lanterns, fireplaces, and the burning of charcoal, as well as from motor vehicles such as cars and boats. Additionally, CO poisoning most often occurs when the fumes are released within the confines of a small or closed-off room.
Sources of CO
Car left running
Portable kerosene or gas heaters/lanterns
Loose or broken ventilation pipes
Improperly installed kitchen range or vent
Operating a grill indoors or in garage
Gas or wood-burning fireplace
(Possible) Symptoms of Poisoning
In More Severe Cases
Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)