5 Tips To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning This Summer
As you head to your camp this summer or take the boat out on the lake, the Maine Center for Disease Control is offering a few tips on how to avoid CO poisoning.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning is often thought of as a winter issue, with snow-plugged car exhausts, or poorly vented generators. But there are plenty of ways you can get poisoned in warm weather too.
Because it's an odorless and colorless gas, it's easy to fall victim without even realizing there's a problem. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion, but no fever. The result of CO poisoning is sickness, coma, or even death. So it's important, if you think you're in trouble, to get away from the source and seek medical attention immediately. The Maine CDC has some tips on places where you can experience CO poisoning during the summer.
When you open your camp this year, check the vents of propane-powered appliances and make sure they're working properly. If you have a generator, operate it outside, at least 15 feet away from windows and doors, and never put it in a confined space. Have working CO detectors in your camp near where people sleep and, if they go off, get everyone out and call 911.
Off-roading or 'mudding' is a popular pastime in the spring, but it can be dangerous. If you get stuck in mud or water, check to see if the exhaust is blocked. If it is, CO could build up inside a vehicle to dangerous levels in a matter of minutes. Get everyone out of the vehicle, keep the doors open, and get as much fresh air in the vehicle as you can. Getting back in could be deadly.
The best place to work on vehicles or engines of any sort is outside. Don't think because your lawnmower's engine isn't very big that it still can't emit enough CO to make you sick. Don't leave an engine running inside for any reason, including 'warming it up.' Pull the vehicle or mower, 4-wheeler, or whatever out into the open air before leaving it.
A day on the lake can be a lot of fun, but not if someone gets sick from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. The dangerous place on a boat is on or near the rear deck. Stay away from the boat's exhaust area, as much as possible. And as fun as it is to jump off the back platform and swim behind the boat, it's not recommended. Exhaust fumes can ruin your outing.
Another summertime staple is the cookout. Everyone loves hot dogs, hamburgers, and steaks cooked on a grill! Just make sure that the charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gas or charcoal-burning device is used outside. They emit CO, and so using them inside will fill the space with deadly gas. Plus, make sure to keep them away from doors and windows, where the invisible gas could get inside.