Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Carl Kanefsky, Communications Director
(302) 255-9047, Pager
Date: January 3, 2011
During the winter months, Delawareans may assume that any dizziness, headache and fatigue they experience are caused by a "bug going around." Carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, toxic gas, can also cause these symptoms, along with nausea, vomiting, chest pain and disorientation. According to the National Poison Data System, carbon monoxide killed 47 people in the U.S. in 2008.
Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels burn. Improperly functioning heating systems, stoves, fireplaces, space heaters, cars, small gasoline engines and outdoor equipment can produce elevated levels of carbon monoxide which can build up rapidly indoors. At high levels, such as occur when running a car or other engine in a closed garage, carbon monoxide can be rapidly fatal. Children, elderly, smokers, people with heart and respiratory disease, and those with increased oxygen needs due to fever, hyperthyroidism or pregnancy are considered most susceptible. Carbon monoxide poisoning in pregnant women can cause birth defects.
To be safe, follow these recommendations:
DPH's Healthy Homes program offers a home health hazard assessment. For more information, call (302) 744-4546 or visit www.delawarehealthyhomes.org
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.