A Scientific Look at Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
As a home or business owner, the dangers of carbon monoxide have likely been a topic of conversation that’s encouraged you to purchase a carbon monoxide detector. But what exactly is carbon monoxide? And how does it affect the human body? We take a look at the dangers—and the science—behind carbon monoxide poisoning.
What is carbon monoxide?
A by-product of combustion, carbon monoxide is created by common appliances we use on a daily basis. These include: gas water heaters, vehicles, charcoal grills, gas stoves, gas-powered lawn equipment, and more. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, so without a proper detector there is no way to be alerted of dangerous levels.
Though we inhale small amounts every day (35 parts per million over eight hours is the maximum allowed in a workplace), higher levels and extended length of exposure can lead to major bodily malfunctions, and even death.
How does carbon monoxide poisoning work?
Carbon monoxide inhibits your blood from transporting oxygen to your vital organs. Even after removal from exposure, it can take hours for the toxins to leave your system. This time it takes for your body’s natural levels to return to their normal state is known as half-life. To illustrate, the half-life of the carboxyhemoglobin (the corrupted hemoglobin unable to transport oxygen) is about 5 hours. So after 5 hours of having been removed from carbon monoxide exposure, the toxic levels in your system will be reduced by half. As you can imagine, it will take some time before your body is able to return to normal.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
The lack of oxygen induced by carbon monoxide poisoning creates uncomfortable symptoms. Again, depending on the level of CO and duration of exposure, the side effects may vary. The most common side effects include mild to severe headaches, nausea, and unconsciousness.
These symptoms are often confused with having the flu. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, it’s especially important to be aware of this fact. What’s more important is getting a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home and office.
In the video below, you can hear Seth’s firsthand experience with the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition to having a security system installed by SEi, he also had carbon monoxide detectors placed in his home.
If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, get one installed immediately. This small investment can save lives. If you have pets at home, it’s especially important to have a monitored carbon monoxide system. With a monitored system, SEi will call you and alert you if dangerous carbon monoxide levels are detected so you can get home and get them out of the house.
For pricing and installation information, call SEi today at 800-334-3272.
10500 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50325
535 Southgate Ave Unit B
Iowa City, IA 52240
1225 Swift Avenue
North Kansas City, MO 64116
8200 Cody Drive, Suite I
Lincoln, NE 68512
2238 South 156 Circle
Omaha, NE 68130