Carbon monoxide is a colorless gas and cannot be seen; symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning generally resemble symptoms of the flu and can consist of headache, dizziness, weakness and upset stomach, as well as vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause a victim to pass out; a sleeping person may die before experiencing any symptoms.
Vehicles, small engines, stoves, lanterns, fireplaces and other fuel-burning devices produce carbon monoxide fumes. People of all ages, as well as household pets, are at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. Install carbon monoxide detectors and check the batteries regularly. Have a professional check ? and if necessary, clean ? any chimneys yearly. Service, ventilate and patch potentially dangerous appliances regularly. Never use charcoal grills, portable gas stoves or gas generators indoors.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can also happen in a vehicle, particularly in a confined space like a garage. Never leave a vehicle running when it is inside a garage connected to a residence. Regular vehicle maintenance can help prevent carbon monoxide leaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website includes several tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in homes and vehicles.