MDHHS urges residents to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning as winter nears

Contact: Jennifer Eisner 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: October 19, 2015

LANSING, Mich. – With winter months approaching, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reminding everyone to be safe from the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning during the cold weather and heating season. To bring awareness to the issue, Governor Snyder has proclaimed this week, October 19 – 24, as Carbon Monoxide Safety and Awareness Week in Michigan.

"Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect, however, carbon monoxide poisoning is completely preventable. Now is the time to ensure that furnaces and water heaters are working properly, and that carbon monoxide detectors are installed and have fresh batteries," said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive at the MDHHS. “If you suspect you have been exposed to carbon monoxide, leave the area immediately and seek medical attention.”

Michigan's carbon monoxide poisoning tracking system found 34 unintentional deaths and 789 non-fatal unintentional carbon monoxide poisonings in Michigan in 2013, the most recent year of complete data. Faulty furnaces and water heaters were the most common cause of the poisonings.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that kills more than 500 Americans each year. It is produced by all fuel-burning devices. The warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include flu-like symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion.

Never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or other fuel-burning devices inside your home, basement, or garage. If you use a generator, be sure it is located outside at least 25 feet away from your home. Park your car outside while it is warming, never in the garage. Running a car in an enclosed garage can create deadly levels of carbon monoxide in minutes.

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

# # #