BANGOR – Carbon monoxide is hard to detect, but it’s important to keep a watch on it before it can become deadly.
So you wake up, look outside your window, and see snowy weather. You might dread getting in that cold car to go to work,so you go turn it on to let it heat up while getting ready for your day. But, you’re going to want to make sure that you pull the car all the way out of the garage first or you might find yourself in trouble.
Dr. Kristopher O’Connell said “With carbon monoxide poisoning it’s hard because this is a gas that you can’t see. You can’t smell it or taste it or feel it. So a lot of people have exposure to it and don’t know it.”
It’s known as the silent killer. And with winter now approaching, the risk is on the rise.
Bangor Assistant Fire Chief Anthony Riitano added “In the winter time everyone usually closes their windows so the house is usually buttoned up a little bit tighter. So when you’re running your heat, if your furnace isn’t running properly you run the risk of having carbon monoxide issues.”
According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 75 percent of all reported cases happen between November and March.
Dr. O’Connell stated “A lot of people think you can get it just from being in garages but it’s actually anything that’s combustible can release carbon monoxide. So natural gas can do it. Wood can do it. So there’s a lot of different exposures.”
The Maine CDC reminds people that it is important to maintain these appliances to avoid a buildup of the toxic gas. But, if there is a leak, sometimes the symptoms of poisoning can be confused with those of the flu.
Asst. Chief Riitano said “You start feeling nauseous, tired, weakness, nausea, vomiting.”
If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to get outside and call for help immediately.
The fire department also reminds people to check their detectors and make sure they are working properly.