Knowing symptoms can be critical when every
Carbon monoxide (CO) leaks are virtually undetectable by sight, sound or smell. All too often, people do not realize they are being subjected to CO poisoning until it is too late. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4,000 people in the United States are hospitalized for CO poisoning and there are more than 400 accidental deaths every year. Knowing the warning signs of CO poisoning can be critical to your survival.
Unless there is a carbon monoxide detector present, there is virtually no way to identify a threat before a victim succumbs to CO poisoning. There are a few symptoms you can monitor for, however, that may alert you to a serious problem:
- Dull headache, weakness, nausea and dizziness. While these symptoms are common to a variety of health conditions, including temporary issues that resolve themselves, the sudden onset of any of these symptoms may indicate the presence of an external source, which is likely carbon monoxide
- Shortness of breath. If you find you can’t quite catch your breath, despite being able to breathe normally, the air your breathing may not be providing the oxygen you need. Vacate the area immediately and try to get to fresh air if at all possible
- Confusion and blurred vision. Unexpected cognitive or visual impairment is a red flag that you aren’t getting enough oxygen to your brain. This may be due to a lack of oxygen in the air around you. If you notice any issues with your vision or thinking, it’s best to relocate immediately, because if the condition worsens, you may be too impaired to get to safety
- Loss of consciousness. In acute cases of CO poisoning, a person may fall asleep or faint due to lack of oxygen. If you see someone faint due to carbon monoxide poisoning, that person needs to be moved out of the area and into fresh air. However, entering an area with a CO leak can put you at risk as well. If possible, get someone with rescue training or proper equipment to help the victim
Proper preventative measures are always the best way to avoid a carbon monoxide accident. But if a leak or buildup does occur, being able to spot the symptoms above can save your life. Carbon monoxide can take just minutes to render you unconscious in severe situations, so if you suspect you may be suffering from CO poisoning, your immediate priority should be getting to safety.
The attorneys at Mallon & McCool, LLC, understand the seriousness of a carbon monoxide leak, and the consequences of ignoring the warning signs. They encourage anyone who’s been affected by carbon monoxide poisoning to contact them at their Baltimore offices. They provide legal representation on behalf of victims and their family members, and can help secure compensation for medical care from those responsible.