Carbon monoxide is odorless, making it difficult for people to detect the harmful gas. Improper ventilation of furnaces, car exhaust systems and other devices can expose people to dangerous levels of the toxin.
A carbon monoxide detector can alert people to excessively high levels of the gas. The symptoms of too much exposure to the chemical include feeling light-headed and tired. Many people opt to lie down when such symptoms emerge, but doing so can be life-threatening.
Inhaling carbon monoxide can lead to death. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is advising people to install detectors for the toxin in their homes. State Health Officer Dr. Henry Anderson says people should call 911 if the alarm sounds.
"Homeowners should install them on every level of the home and near sleeping areas," says Anderson. "Never ignore a CO detector's alarm because it could save your life."
No one expects to die from inhaling carbon monoxide, especially given how minor the symptoms may feel. However, it highlights the importance of having life insurance as one's situation can change instantly.