Don't let your home poison you
Here's a heartfelt plea in light of the recent spate of carbon monoxide deaths: Don't become the next statistic.
CO can kill when appliances that burn fuel -- gas, oil, wood, etc. -- are used improperly or stop working well, or when a car is left to idle in an enclosed space, the Environmental Protection Agency says. Because it's odorless, the only warning you'll get is the symptoms that develop as you're being poisoned.
"At moderate levels, you or your family can get severe headaches, become dizzy, mentally confused, nauseated, or faint. ... Low levels can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea, and mild headaches, and may have longer term effects on your health," the EPA says on its website. "Since many of these symptoms are similar to those of the flu, food poisoning, or other illnesses, you may not think that CO poisoning could be the cause."
Two people were killed and three badly sickened by carbon monoxide in a Baltimore rowhouse this week after leaving open the door of a gas oven that was turned on, possibly to heat the second-floor apartment.
Carbon monoxide, apparently from a faulty furnace, killed two others in Pikesville earlier in the month.
And eight people were hospitalized after CO exposure in Pigtown yesterday, though fortunately they appear to have escaped serious injury.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of running afoul of this silent killer: