News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
Visit us at www.nwhealth.org


Protect against carbon monoxide poisoning as winter months near

(November 3, 2011) Local public health officials are 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 n 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 Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "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.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and poisoning prevention, visit www.michigan.gov/carbonmonoxide.


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