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The Dangers Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning For Seniors Living On Their Own And What To Do About It

The statistics in regards to carbon monoxide or CO2 and specifically carbon monoxide poisoning for seniors may startle you to say the least. If the CDC's (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) report is accurate, over 400 Americans die from this type of poisoning each year. Carbon monoxide poisoning deaths is more common with the over-65 elderly population more than people from other age groups. Thousands more end up in the emergency room after experiencing symptoms of CO2 poisoning.

Let's review some of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO2), how to recognize the symptoms and what to do to address the situation. We will also cover the use of carbon monoxide and how medical alert systems play a role.

How is carbon monoxide (CO2) dangerous?

Unlike other types of poisons, CO2 can kill you without much warning. It doesn't have an odor, so you can't smell it. It's also tasteless and colorless, so you can't use your other senses to detect it either. The gas is particularly harmful since it deprives your body of all-important oxygen. Without it, your organs will start shutting down.

This is why it's such a dangerous situation to have an undetected carbon monoxide buildup in your home. If you are exposed to a high concentration in a short amount of time, it can kill you quickly. Over longer periods of time, lower levels of CO2 will be just as dangerous.

What produces carbon monoxide (CO2) in the home?

All types of appliances in your home can produce CO2 without you being aware of it. Some of the most common appliances include ovens, dryers, grills, space heaters, furnaces, and water heaters. Your vehicle will also produce carbon monoxide as well. Anything that uses fossil fuels like natural gas, propane, oil, charcoal, gasoline, or kerosene will produce this gas.

If you have any of these appliances in your home, then it's best that you learn some of the common carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms. They include weakness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, impaired judgement and confusion. Some people have died in their sleep without waking up to experience any symptoms at all.

What are carbon monoxide detectors?

This can largely be prevented by using carbon monoxide detectors in the home. Setting them up just anywhere isn't the best idea though. Therefore, you'll need to be concerned about carbon monoxide detector placement which means putting one on every floor of your home and ideally one in each room.

There are various ways that these CO2 detectors can do their jobs. Some are designed to cause a chemical reaction once the substance is detected. An electrochemical reaction may also occur which would trigger the current necessary for an alarm to sound.

Don't think that a fire is the only thing that can kill you quickly in your home. Carbon monoxide poisoning for seniors is a very real problem too. You will want your detector to be functioning at all times just like your smoke detector. Look for a model that has back-up power in the form of a battery in case the power in your home goes out.

How are medical alert systems useful?

After learning the importance of detecting carbon monoxide in your home, you may want to consider getting an alert system that will detect that substance too. Seniors often have a harder time living by themselves which is why many of them are advised to invest in a medical alert system of some sort. With medical alarms for seniors, help is always just a push of a button away.

Nowadays, top medical alert systems like Bay Alarm Medical can be hooked up directly with the carbon monoxide alarm. If carbon monoxide is detected, it won't just produce an audible alarm for you to get out. It will also automatically notify someone at a monitoring system that you may be in need of help. This is especially helpful because the people affected may be too confused and dizzy to press the emergency button. If you are interested, here is more information about top medical medical systems that offer carbon monoxide protection.

Even if you have a medical alert system that is not connected to the carbon monoxide CO2 detector, it is still helpful in many ways. Instead of having to get up and call 911, you can press the emergency button and ask for help. When a person has been poisoned by carbon monoxide gas, the ability to walk to the phone and/or dial for help cannot be taken for granted.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Cars

As stated earlier, your vehicle is capable of producing carbon monoxide. It's actually the most common way that people get poisoned. This can happen more easily than you expect.

On those colder days, you'll likely warm up your car. If you do so while it's in a garage, then carbon monoxide will have nowhere to escape, so it will build up. If the car is kept outside, then you'll need to ensure that ice isn't blocking the exhaust pipe because CO2 won't be able to escape. Ice can buildup on the vents outside your home in the winter either, so you'll need to check them periodically if you have a furnace, stove, or another type of appliance.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - How To Get Help

It's important to know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning for seniors so you can escape a potentially dangerous situation. If you suspect that you are experiencing CO2 poisoning or if your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, leave your house immediately and go outside to get fresh air. Call the fire department or 911 just in case there is a CO2 leak somewhere in your home. You can also contact the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for more information. It's better to be safe than sorry.