Keeping doors and windows tightly sealed is important to keep out the winter cold. However, be careful that efforts to keep chilly air out isn’t keeping poisonous air in.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer. It cannot be seen or smelled. According to the Centers for Disease Control
, infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.
Unless fireplaces, wood and gas stoves and gas appliances are properly vented, cleaned, and used, they can leak dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide. They must be cleaned regularly and checked to ensure they work properly and safely. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors should be placed strategically throughout the home, especially near fireplaces, wood stoves, or kerosene heaters. The local fire department can provide guidance on the best locations for detectors.
The warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are subtle. If your loved one is at home and complains of these symptoms, without the presence of illness, urge them to go outside into the fresh air immediately and call 911. Breathing in fresh air will help to combat the inhalation of poisonous carbon monoxide. Some of the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
At its highest levels, carbon monoxide poisoning will cause a loss of consciousness.
To make sure that your loved one’s home is protected against carbon monoxide leaks, here are the most important precautions to take:
- Call an inspector to have your chimneys and flues inspected each year.
- Open a window just a crack if using a kerosene stove for heat.
- Make sure space heaters are at least 3 feet away from anything that might catch fire, such as curtains, bedding and furniture.
- Never try to heat your home using a gas stove, charcoal grill, or other stove not made for home heating.
It is just as important to protect your loved one and their home against fire and related dangers:
- Know at least two ways to get out of your apartment or home.
- When cooking, don't wear loose clothes or clothes with long sleeves.
- Replace appliances that have fraying or damaged electrical cords.
- Don't put too many electric cords into one socket or extension cord.
- Install a smoke detector and replace the battery twice a year when the time changes for daylight savings time.
- Never smoke in bed or leave candles burning, even for a short time, in an empty room.
- Turn off space heaters when you leave the room.
Home Care Assistance can help to keep your loved one safe at home. Our full care team conducts home assessments to ensure their safety
and comfort before beginning home care services. Once the assessment is complete, the care team creates a schedule and a plan that covers all aspects of the appropriate care and reviews it with the caregiver. A Client Care Manager at Home Care Assistance makes regular Quality Assurance visits to ensure the quality of care is exceptional and makes changes as needed.
Home Care Assistance caregivers are trained at our university
in all aspects of senior care so that you have the peace of mind that your loved one is aging safely in place.