Learn how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning


Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that's produced by burning fuel in cars, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, portable generators and furnaces.


Carbon monoxide can build up in closed spaces and poison people and pets. This happens more in cold weather, as people use heaters and run cars in closed garages.


Older adults may be more vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning. Poisoning can make people dizzy, tired or sick to their stomachs, give them headaches or make it difficult to breathe. People with serious poisoning may vomit, become confused, not be able to balance or move easily, lose consciousness or die.


The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning can be reduced by:

  • Placing battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms

  • Having qualified technicians check the heating system, water heater and other gas- or coal-burning appliances each year

  • Properly venting all gas appliances

  • Never using portable, flameless chemical heaters indoors

  • Never using a gas oven to heat the home

  • Never letting a car run in a closed garage

  • Never using a generator inside the home, basement or garage, or within 20 feet of any window, door or vent