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    Carbon Monoxide Can Be Deadly


    • In the United States 439 persons died each year because of unintentional, non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning from19994-2004*.

        - Death rates were highest for adults 65+ years old and males.

        - There were 46 carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in Maryland

    • In Maryland there were 914 inpatient hospitalizations and 3,710 Emergency Department (ED) visits due to carbon monoxide poisoning from 2000-2009.

    • Carbon monoxide deaths, ED visits and inpatient hospitalizations for the State of Maryland, Maryland counties as well as states and counties in other states are available through user-generated data queries from the National Tracking Network (NTN) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Maryland Tracking Network (MTN) in the State.

    *King M, Bailey MS, Carbon monoxide—related deaths—United States, 1999-2004. MMWR 2007; 56: 1309-12.


    Symptoms of CO poisoning


    The most common symptoms of CO poisoning include:

    • Headache

    • Drowsiness or dizziness

    • Nausea and vomiting

    • Weakness, fatigue and confusion

    • Chest pain

    • High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death, especially in people who are already sleeping or intoxicated. They may never wake up.


    How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning


    1. Install a CO detector in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home - one monitor may not be enough.

    2. Make sure appliances are properly installed and operating with adequate ventilation.

    3. Make sure the flue is open before starting a fire in the fireplace.

    4. Have your chimney or flue inspected and cleaned once a year.

    5. Never burn charcoal inside a camper, tent, or inside your house,

    or in unventilated areas outside (such as garages).

    (In some cases, entire families have been poisoned while using a grill indoors on a rainy day).

    6. Make sure CO detectors aren't covered up by furniture or curtains.

    7. Don't go to sleep with a gas-burning heater on.

    8. Cars running in an attached garage have been source of many fatal CO Poisonings.

    9. Don't use gas-powered tools and engines indoors.

    10. (If this is unavoidable, open all the windows and doors and make sure the room is well ventilated.)

    11. Install CO detectors in boats and recreational vehicles.

    12. Don't use fuel-burning heaters or lanterns in a camper, tent, or other enclosure.

    13. Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in any room with closed doors or windows.

    14. Don't let children or adults swim near the exhaust from a boat engine.

    15. Don't stand directly over the boat's exhaust pipe while on deck.

    16. Avoid swimming near houseboats where generators are in use since carbon monoxide can build up in areas around exhaust vents. 


    For more information call the DHMH Environmental Health Helpline: 1-866-703-3266, or email:  dhmh.envhealth@maryland.gov