Florida DOH Cautions Against Winter Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Florida Department of Health (DOH) urges Floridians to take precautions to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning during the cold winter months. As temperatures drop, the potential for CO poisonings and deaths rise.

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"Carbon monoxide can be fatal if people are exposed to high levels of CO, even for short periods of time," Dr. Lisa Conti, Director of the Division of Environmental Health, said. "Floridians who use indoor gas heaters and fireplaces need to ensure direct exhaust venting to the outside, regularly check and maintain fuel burning appliances, and carefully monitor themselves and loved ones for signs of CO poisoning."

Invisible, odorless and tasteless, CO is a highly poisonous gas produced by burning fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, kerosene, charcoal and wood. Inside a home, CO can come from a gas-fueled furnace, gas water heater, gas clothes dryer, gas ranges, kerosene space heaters, portable generators, gas or charcoal grills, fireplaces or wood stoves. The risk of illness or death increases with the level of CO in the air and the amount of time exposed. Dangerous CO levels can result when home appliances are not properly maintained or when used incorrectly. Anyone who suspects symptoms of CO poisoning should go outside immediately. If a person has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911 for emergency medical assistance immediately from a safer location (outside or from a neighbor's home).

Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

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