The Center for Disease Control ranks Nebraska as the state with the highest mortality rate from carbon monoxide. Each year, carbon monoxide poisoning kills nearly 500 people nationwide and sends over 15,000 to hospitals. The death rate is highest among people greater than age 65.
Public Education Specialist with the Nebraska Regional Poison Center, Joan McVoy says carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms mimic the flu. Symptoms include sleepiness, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea and shortness of breath.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center received 268 calls concerning carbon monoxide in 2011 and McVoy says phones have been busy lately with questions. The Poison Center stresses the importance of knowing the dangers, symptoms and how to prevent this poisoning in the future.
McVoy says the easiest way to prevent a problem is to have gas furnaces and water heaters inspected and make sure they are property vented. Do not use a gas range or an over for heating a room. Do not use a charcoal grill indoors and never leave a car running to warm up in an attached garage, even with the garage door open. She says it is also a good idea to have the exhaust system of your vehicle checked on a regular basis.
It is also recommended that all homes have a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of a home. Twenty-five states have laws in place that require detectors in certain residential buildings. Nebraska is not one of them.