How are you adjusting to Daylight Saving’s Time?
If that hour of sleep you lost is still making you a bit groggy, you may have forgotten to do something really important amongst all the clock resetting: change the batteries in your home’s carbon monoxide detectors.
This can be a big, and potentially lethal, mistake. Close to 70 percent of Maine’s incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning happen from November through March. The Centers for Disease Control reports that about 430 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. CO poisoning also sends 50,000 people to the emergency room, 4,000 of which end up hospitalized.
Those numbers should drive home the critical importance of having carbon monoxide detectors in your southern Maine home, and making sure they work.
Maine law recommends that CO detectors be placed on each level of your home, as well outside of all sleeping areas. Change the batteries when you change the batteries on your smoke detector, which you should be doing each time you change your clocks to or from Daylight Savings Time.
If your CO detector is five years old or older, it needs to be replaced entirely.
Carbon monoxide is often called a “silent killer.” As it builds up in your blood, carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in your blood cells, starving your heart, brain, lungs and other vital organs of the oxygen they need to function. This can result in permanent injury or death.
Many deaths happen at night because people who are sleeping or under the influence of medication, alcohol or drugs die before feeling any symptoms.
Symptoms of CO poisoning are often described as “flu-like.” The most common ones are:
While no one is immune to CO poisoning, infants, the elderly, and people with anemia, respiratory problems or chronic heart disease are the most vulnerable to it.
You’d be surprised at the ways you can end up with a dangerous amount of carbon monoxide in your home. Here are some: