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NH Environmental Public Health Tracking Program



The NH Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) Program is your source for State and National environmental health data.

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PHT is a cooperative initiative between the NH Department of Health and Human Services and the NH Department of Environmental Services. NH EPHT is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve public health by providing science-based information on the trends and distributions of environmentally-related diseases.

November 2015

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a toxic gas that is invisible and odorless. Breathing high levels of CO can cause severe illness or death in a matter of minutes. All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning.

What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide poisoning is breathing in too much carbon monoxide. Inhaled carbon monoxide enters the lungs where it is absorbed in red blood cells and is then carried throughout the body. The absorption of CO blocks oxygen from getting into your body, which can damage tissues and cause death.

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, confusion and loss of consciousness. CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to those for other illnesses.

Most CO poisoning occurs in fall and winter months as a result of:

  • Activities near boat engine exhaust outlets
  • Clogged chimneys or blocked heating exhaust vents
  • Running generators or gas-powered tools in enclosed areas or near windows, doors, or vents
  • Using a gas stove or oven to heat the home
  • Using a propane camp stove, heater, or light inside a tent or home
  • Using poorly maintained or unvented heating equipment
  • “Warming up” vehicles in garages or other enclosed spaces

What can you do to prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
  • Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseous.
  • Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that is not vented.
  • Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
  • Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window. Keep generators outside at least 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.

Where can you learn more about Carbon Monoxide?

NH Carbon Monoxide Work Group (NH DES)
CDC Tracking Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Northern New England Poison Center

For detailed Carbon Monoxide Poisoning data in NH, visit NH Health WISDOM.

NH EPHT is part of the CDC's national Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. The network was developed to integrate nationally consistent environment and public health data to support research, programs and policies that help protect the health of communities nationwide.

This web site is supported by grant number 1 U38 EH000947-01 from the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Its content is solely the responsibility of the authors and not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

Environmental Public Health Tracking Program
NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services
29 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301
Tel: (603) 271-4988 800-852-3345 ext.4988

copyright 2009. State of New Hampshire