The Centers for Disease Control reports that carbon monoxide (CO) exposures and poisonings occur more often during the fall and winter, when people are more likely to use gas furnaces, heaters and generators in their homes. According to CDC statistics, approximately 480 U.S. residents died during 2001-2003 from non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning.
The most carbon monoxide exposures occur during the winter months with the highest numbers occurring during December with an annual average of 56 deaths and 2,157 non-fatal exposures and in January with an average of 69 deaths and 2,511 non-fatal exposures.
The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are nausea, headache and dizziness and they can be easily mistaken for other conditions such as a viral illness. The more severe symptoms including loss of consciousness, shortness of breath and loss of muscle control are often not reported.
CDC offers the following suggestions for avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning:
Strategies to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure
Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas-, oil-, or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
Install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
If your CO detector sounds, evacuate your home immediately and telephone 911.
Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.
Do not use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
Do not run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
Do not burn anything in a stove or fireplace that is not vented.
Do not heat your house with a gas oven.
For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and prevention, visit this CDC Website