Salt Lake City Fire Department offers free detectors as reminder about how they save lives
"There's no odor or color or taste associated with carbon monoxide, so without a detector you really have no way of knowing whether the levels are high. And one of the very dangerous things about carbon monoxide is once carbon monoxide has bonded with your hemoglobin, oxygen is then unable to bond. So you are actually unable to breathe even though you're in fresh clean air," said VanDongen, who noted that if someone is exposed long enough, the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning could be permanent.
"We can move you outside, and if it's a severe case we're not going to be able to supply you with oxygen, even in a clean environment. It's very difficult to reverse once you have a severe case," she said.
Young people and the elderly are typically the most susceptible to long-term effects. The CDC reported the highest fatality rate among Americans exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning is those who are 65 and older.
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