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Violence sells and “If it bleeds, it leads” has been the media’s strategy for the past decade or more. The gorier, more brutal the death, the more it’s hyped.
What we rarely hear about are the less dramatic, less clickbait-worthy ways we can die. Which is sad, because some, such as carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, are preventable with just a little basic knowledge.
Think CO poisoning isn’t common? Think again: it’s the leading cause of accidental poisonings in the U.S. according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim that it’s responsible for the deaths of more than 400 Americans and the medical treatment of an additional 50,000 each year. Half of these deaths, they say, happen between November and February.
Known as “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas which can cause sudden illness and death” and it is “produced anytime a fossil fuel is burned,” according to the CDC.
Sources of carbon monoxide in the home include:
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, “Identifying CO poisoning can be difficult because the symptoms are similar to the flu … people will ignore early signs and eventually lose consciousness and be unable to escape to safety.”
Early symptoms include a mild headache and a feeling of breathlessness after moderate exercise. The difference between these symptoms and those of the flu include:
The CDC offers up plenty of tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. Here are just a few.
Learn more about carbon monoxide in the home and how to prevent poisoning at the CDC website.
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