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Help Older Adults Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Do you know how to tell the difference between carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and the flu? Learn more about preventing carbon monoxide poisoning from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

CO DetectorEveryone is at risk of being poisoned by CO exposure. Older adults with health conditions such as chronic heart disease, anemia or respiratory problems are even more susceptible.

Carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas, is the most common cause of poisoning death in the United States. Unintentional CO poisonings are responsible for about 500 deaths and 15,000 visits to the emergency room each year. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented by installing a carbon monoxide alarm, yet less than one third of homes have them installed.

One sign that symptoms could be the result of CO poisoning is that you feel better when you are away from home, or the symptoms occur or get worse shortly after turning on a fuel-burning device or running a vehicle in an attached garage.

Devices that produce CO include cars, boats, gasoline engines, stoves and heating systems. Carbon monoxide from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces.

An easy way to remember how you can prevent CO poisoning are the letters I CAN B:

  • Install CO alarms near sleeping areas. 
  • Check heating systems and fuel-burning appliances annually. 
  • Avoid the use of non-vented combustion appliances. 
  • Never burn fuels indoors except in devices such as stoves or furnaces that are made for safe use. 
  • Be attentive to possible symptoms of CO poisoning.

See the Environmental Protection Agency website for more information on preventing carbon monoxide poisoning.


Right at Home is a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those we serve. We fulfill that mission through a dedicated network of locally owned, franchised providers of in-home care and assistance services.

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Long Distance Caregiving: Home Care Can Help
Study Confirms Older Adults at High Risk for Drug Interactions
Help Older Adults Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
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