carbon monoxide

The risks to inhale carbon monoxide (CO) are very high for all people, especially for kidsand this poisoning can even cause death.

Since all cases are avoidable, with the arrival of winter specialists recommend the ventilation of the environments, the control of the installationsof the artifacts of heating and pay attention to all safety measures. prevention.

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and non-irritating, and is easily dispersed in the air, accumulating in poorly ventilated environments.without being perceived by people until the moment they present symptom.

Carbon monoxide: warning symptoms

The symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning are variable.

In mild cases they usually present:

  • headaches,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • dizziness,
  • weakness
Braziers, wood-burning fireplaces, salamanders (both gas and wood-fired), grills, wood or charcoal stoves, and gas lanterns are among those that produce the most carbon monoxide.

If they get worse:

  • instability,
  • confusion,
  • blurry vision,
  • chest pain,
  • fainting,
  • seizures
  • death.

On the other hand, once the acute episode has passed, depending on the severity of the condition, it is also possible that between two weeks and two months neurological complications, such as alterations in memory, behavior, attention, learning. That is why it is important, short and medium term medical control after poisoning.

This can cause serious health consequences and even lead to death: carbon monoxide is one of the main causes of poisoning in the world and it is estimated that around 200 people die from this cause in Argentina each year.

In case of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, you should:

  • Open the doors and windows of the environment.
  • Do not stay inside the house and help people who cannot move on their own to get out.
  • Call the emergency service or go to the nearest health center.


carbon monoxide
Among the devices that burn gas, the most frequently involved in poisoning events are: water heaters, hot water tanks, kitchens, ovens and heaters (infrared stoves, boilers inside the home), when they are not properly installed or the ventilation of the environments it is scarce.
  • maintain the environment ventilated once the gas, coal or wood appliances have been lit. There should always be a door or window open, at least 15 centimeters.
  • pay attention to flame color of artifacts: must be blue; if it is orange or red, the appliance should be turned off and checked, since it is not working properly and is generating carbon monoxide.
  • not sleep with braziers or fired wood or coal heaters.
  • Gas installations must be carried out by registered gas fitters.
  • Once a year they must control gas appliances and verify that the ventilation (chimneys and pipes) are not obstructed by leaves, garbage or bird nests, among others.
  • Do not use the oven nor the burners to heat the environment, since they consume a greater amount of oxygen.
  • Do not install gas water heaters or hot water tanks in the bath.
  • Don’t leave the car with him. engine running in the garage without the environment being ventilated.
  • Check the exhaust system auto to verify that there are no cracks, in addition to the floor and the trunk to detect holes through which gases can pass.
  • Never light a generator set inside. The appliance in operation must always be outside.
  • Before lighting the gas appliances in a house that remained uninhabited for a while (for example, holiday homes) make sure they work properly.
  • can be installed detectors of carbon monoxide in houses.

Poisonings in Argentina

In Argentina there is very little electricity consumption in homes, so the heating and water heating system is mainly through gas, which means that flame devices are used in a large proportion. A reality that becomes more extreme in the population with fewer resources.

During winter, the number of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning rises, due to inadequate heating and ventilation of closed environments. Its consequences can be serious and even lead to death, and children are among the most vulnerable groups of the population, along with pregnant women, the elderly and patients with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Cold snap: which heating appliances consume the most electricity

The most important among these recommendations are: keep closed rooms well ventilated -given that adequate ventilation is often mistakenly assumed-, do not sleep with coal, wood or gas heating devices turned on and periodically control heating installations and devices.

Are there ways to heat that increase the risk?

The most frequent sources of production of this gas in Argentina are stoves, water heaters, charcoal or firewood braziers, salamanders, kitchen burners, lanterns, gas lamps (which are usually used in camps) and cars with exhaust pipes clogged by snow or system failures. Small fuel-powered machines such as generator sets, lawn mowers, floor polishers, or pressure washers can also produce this gas.


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