Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


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Carbon monoxide, also called CO, is a toxic gas that you cannot see or smell. 

Did you know that Wyoming ranked one of the highest states in the country for carbon monoxide poisoning? Wyoming’s Poison Center, sponsored by the Wyoming Department of Health’s Office of Medical Services, reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ranked Wyoming as one of the states with the highest mortality rate from carbon monoxide.

The Stats

Carbon monoxide is a gas produced when fuels burn incompletely most commonly caused by lack of ventilation in a car, using unvented space heaters, using heating equipment that is in poor repair and using charcoal grills indoors. It has no color, taste or smell.

Every year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning―20,000 are seen in emergency rooms with another 4,000 hospitalized. The carbon monoxide death rate is highest among people older than 65 years of age.


Symptoms associated with poisoning include sleepiness, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, shortness of breath and convulsions. For treatment of a Carbon Monoxide victim, follow these steps:

  1.      Get the person to fresh air:

              - Move them away from the carbon monoxide area.

              - If they are unconscious, check for injuries before moving them.

              - Turn off the carbon monoxide source if you can do so safely.

  1.      Call 911
  2.      Begin CPR, if necessary

             - Continue CPR until the person begins breathing or emergency help arrives.

You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure.

Wyoming’s Poison Center offers tips on prevention as a free community service and can be contacted at 1-800-222-1222. Some of these tips include inspecting all fuel-burning equipment annually, installing carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home and never leaving a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open. Do have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.