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MDCH Urges Residents to Protect Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning as Winter Months Near

Contact: Angela Minicuci 517 241-2112

LANSING - Governor Snyder has proclaimed Oct. 24 – 30, 2011 as Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Week in Michigan. In conjunction, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is reminding everyone to be safe this winter and not put families in danger of being poisoned by carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that kills more than 500 Americans each year and up to 50 a year in Michigan. It is produced by all forms of combustion. Carbon monoxide poisoning is completely preventable. Warning signs include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion.

"Now is the time to ensure that gas-fired furnaces, hot water heaters and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly," said Dr. Dean Sienko, Interim Chief Medical Executive at the MDCH. "Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect so it's important to evacuate the area of contamination immediately and seek medical attention if you suspect you have been exposed to carbon monoxide."

Never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage or near a window because these appliances give off carbon monoxide. Running a car in an enclosed garage can create lethal levels of carbon monoxide in minutes.

Michigan's carbon monoxide poisoning tracking system counted 39 unintentional deaths and 1,340 non-fatal unintentional carbon monoxide poisonings in Michigan in 2009 alone. More than 60 percent occurred during the winter months and happened most frequently at home.

For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and poisoning prevention, visit www.michigan.gov/carbonmonoxide.

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