Did you know that winter is a high-risk time for carbon monoxide poisoning? This deadly gas can leak from common household appliances like furnaces, wood-burning stoves, and propane grills. Because people are less likely to have windows and doors open, deadly concentrations can accumulate. When inhaled, people can suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning and experience a range of negative health issues. Seniors and children are especially at risk for serious complications from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Here are 5 steps that family caregivers can take to greatly reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in their elderly relative’s home.
1. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors.
Because the gas is impossible to see, hear, or taste on its own, a carbon monoxide detector is extremely important. Similar to a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide detector sounds an alarm if it senses a concentration of the deadly gas. They should be installed on every floor of the home and one outside the bedroom so that the elderly adult can wake up immediately.
2. Test Carbon Monoxide Detectors Regularly.
It’s not enough to just install detectors, but family caregivers need to test them regularly to ensure safety for elderly relatives. Most carbon monoxide detectors have a little test button that caregivers can press, causing the alarm to sound. If there is no alarm, the batteries are probably dead. Caregivers should check and replace the batteries regularly, at least twice per year.
3. Hire Professionals to Inspect Appliances.
A carbon monoxide leak can cause all kinds of problems, so it’s important to get those appliances inspected regularly. Furnaces, water heaters, stoves, and grills are the most common sources of carbon monoxide in the home. Any combustible appliance should get yearly maintenance and be checked for carbon monoxide leaks, both large and small.
4. Be Smart With Combustible Appliances.
A leak can put carbon monoxide into an elderly person’s home without them knowing it. However, too many people use appliances improperly and create their own health hazard. Elderly people should never run propane grills or space heaters indoors, nor should they idle a car or lawn mower in the garage. Gas generators should be properly vented outside and a fireplace should not be operated until it has been cleaned for the year.
5. Learn the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
If family caregivers know what symptoms to look for, it could actually save their elderly loved one’s life. Even small amounts of carbon monoxide can affect a home’s indoor air quality and cause all kinds of symptoms in people such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, irritability, shortness of breath, chest pain, unconsciousness, coma, and even death. Family caregivers would not be doing a good job of elderly care for aging relatives if they didn’t do everything they could to stop carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you or someone you know needs elderly care in Buffalo, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.