Carbon monoxide causes, symptoms

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ATLANTA - Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is a byproduct of combustion, meaning it can be produced by cars and trucks, but also items in the home like a fireplace, gas range or furnace.

Each year more than 20,000 Americans are treated for carbon monoxide poisoning and 400 die from unintentional poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Symptoms of carbon dioxide include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. High levels can cause loss of consciousness and death.

Red blood cells absorb CO quicker than oxygen, so if there is a lot in the air the body may replace oxygen with carbon monoxide, damaging tissues, according to the CDC website.

Georgia does not a law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in schools. The only state regulation involving CO requires detectors be installed in general sleeping areas of all new one and two family homes, and townhomes of three stories or less.

The CDC website has information on preventing carbon monoxide exposure in your home including:
•    Getting your heating system and water heater inspected annually by a certified technician.
•    Installing a battery operated CO detector in  your home
•    Do not use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove or gasoline burning device in your home.
•    Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your home, even if the door is open
•    Don’t heat your home with a gas oven.

The CDC reports the leading cause of CO poisoning in homes is the furnace, followed by a motor vehicle, stove and gas line leak.