04:03am Thursday 21 November 2019

Poison Control Center Urges Oklahomans To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

“Because carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, it often is referred to as a silent killer,” says Randy Badillo, clinical supervisor of the Oklahoma Poison Control Center. “Carbon monoxide is highly toxic and can be found routinely in homes where heating systems like furnaces, chimneys, wood stoves, water heaters and boilers are being used. As we begin to enter into the cooler seasons of fall and winter, the Oklahoma Poison Control Center encourages everyone to make sure that their heat-producing home appliances have been inspected by a professional to decrease the potential for unintentional carbon monoxide exposures.”

Badillo adds, “Every year, there are deaths reported from carbon monoxide exposures. These are preventable deaths, and we encourage everyone to take all necessary precautions to prevent such tragic accidents from occurring in their home.”

Many Oklahomans received roof repairs this spring due to the hail storms and may need to have their exhaust vents checked. Poorly functioning heating systems and operation of a motor vehicle in an enclosed space (e.g., a garage) with inadequate ventilation are the leading causes of CO poisoning in the United States. Gasoline-powered generators used during power outages are another common source.

People who are asleep or intoxicated can die from CO poisoning without experiencing any symptoms. Low levels of CO poisoning can be confused with other symptoms of illness and can go undetected. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Extended exposure can lead to loss of consciousness and death. CO poisoning can result in long-term health problems if not treated promptly. Children are thought to be more susceptible to CO poisoning than adults.

The Oklahoma Poison Control Center offers the following safety tips:
• Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas-, oil- or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
• Install battery-operated CO and smoke alarms in your home.
• Place CO alarms outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area.
• Replace CO alarm batteries when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Check the batteries monthly.
• If a CO alarm sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
• Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning or feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated.
• Have flues or chimneys inspected before each heating season for leakage and blockage by creosote or debris.
• Open the fireplace damper before you light a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. Never close the damper if the ashes are warm.

Please do not e-mail the poison center or a member of the poison center staff, as poisoning emergencies cannot be handled in a timely fashion through e-mail. Pharmacists and registered nurses at the poison center are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1 (800) 222-1222. All calls are free and confidential. The Oklahoma Poison Control Center is a program of the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy at the OU Health Sciences Center. For more information, please visit www.oklahomapoison.org.

Share on:

MORE FROM Public Health and Safety

Health news