According to the CDC, an average of 400 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Those over the age of 64 make up the highest percentage of those who died. Having a working carbon monoxide detector can save your life.
While many people understand the importance of having a carbon monoxide detector, not everyone has one within their home. Those on fixed incomes may feel this type of detector is too expensive, and others don’t realize the detectors need to be replaced every few years.
Does Your Dad Have Appliances That Increase His Risk?
Some seniors don’t realize that the appliances in their home can create carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide has no smell, and it’s not visible to the eye. Here are some of the appliances that can produce carbon monoxide.
Gas burning stoves and ovens or heating systems are one of the risk factors. A wood stove or pellet stove or fireplace that uses gas or wood as fuel. Pellet stoves also produce carbon dioxide. A car in the garage that’s allowed to idle with the door down or only partially can let carbon monoxide into the house. A gas-powered clothes dryer is another. So are emergency generators, gas or charcoal grills, and kerosene space heaters.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
In the earliest stages of carbon monoxide poisoning, there are no symptoms. It progresses to a mild headache with the possibility of nausea and dizziness. Going outside into fresh air eases the headache, dizziness, and nausea. As the level of carbon monoxide within the blood increases, the headache worsens.
At 30 percent, elderly people and children may have long-term health effects resulting from the poisoning. By the time the CO2 level is at 45 percent, the person becomes unconscious. At 50 percent or higher, death is possible.
How Can You Eliminate the Risk?
Make sure your dad has a working carbon monoxide detector. Keep an eye on the expiration date found somewhere on the detector. You or a caregiver should also push the test button each month to ensure it works.
When shopping for a carbon monoxide detector, look for a model with battery back-up. If power is out, you want to be sure the detector will still work. Make sure you purchase detectors for each level of the home. You might want individual detectors for each bedroom.
Have your dad’s heating system vents inspected each year. You want to have gas-powered appliances inspected for gas leaks or ventilation problems. If he has a fireplace or wood/pellet stove, he should have
that and the chimney professionally cleaned and inspected each year, too. Make sure these inspections are completed.
Hire a caregiver from a senior care agency to care for your dad when you can’t. If an emergency arises, a caregiver can get your dad out of the house and call 9-1-1 to get help.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Elizabeth, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.
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