Frequent Questions

What do I do if I suspect that combustion appliances are affecting my health?

 If you suspect you are being subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors for more ventilation, turn off any combustion appliances, and leave the house. You could lose consciousness and die from carbon monoxide poisoning if you do nothing. It is also important to contact a doctor IMMEDIATELY for a proper diagnosis. Remember to tell your doctor that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning is causing your problems. Prompt medical attention is important.

Remember that some symptoms from combustion pollutants - headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, coughing, and watery eyes - may also occur because of common medical problems. These medical problems include colds, the flu, or allergies. Similar symptoms may also occur because of other indoor air pollutants. Contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

To help your doctor make the correct diagnosis, try to have answers to the following questions:

  • Do your symptoms occur only in the home? Do they disappear or decrease when you leave home, and reappear when you return?
  • Is anyone else in your household complaining of similar symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, or sleepiness? Are they complaining of nausea, watery eyes, coughing, or nose and throat irritation?
  • Do you always have symptoms?
  • Are your symptoms getting worse?
  • Do you often catch colds or get the flu?
  • Are you using any combustion appliances in your home?
  • Has anyone inspected your appliances lately? Are you certain they are working properly?

Your doctor may take a blood sample to measure the level of carbon monoxide in your blood if he or she suspects carbon monoxide poisoning. This sample will help determine whether carbon monoxide is affecting your health.

Contact qualified appliance service people to have your appliances inspected and adjusted if needed. You should be able to find a qualified person by asking your appliance distributor or your fuel supplier. In some areas, the local fuel company may be able to inspect and adjust the appliance.

See also www.epa.gov/iaq/co.html

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