Doctors have always believed that prevention is the best cure. Almost daily, we are faced with new health dangers and risks. In Sandy's wake, we are now faced with families trying to make do and function as best they can. So to make matters worse, carbon monoxide toxicity rears its head.
While CO poisoning has always been a common concern in the winter months due to less than optimal heating sources, we now have to be careful as families without power use coal, wood, gas stoves and grills for heat. As the pediatrician on call for my practice in Bridgeport this week, I've come across several cases of severe CO poisoning. Families are grilling indoors as the temperatures outside are getting chillier. Families are also using their gas stoves to heat their homes overnight. Poison control centers are flooded with calls from local emergency rooms.
We need to get the word out to our friends and neighbors about the dangers of inhalants. Make sure your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors have fresh batteries. We usually suggest testing the batteries every month and changing the batteries every 6 months when we fall back and spring ahead for daylight savings. Keep poison control's hotline number nearby - 800-222-1222. Watch for signs and symptoms such as:
- sleepiness or difficulty arousing from sleep.
Make sure your homes are well ventilated. Visit your nearest emergency room if you're concerned. Grill outdoors only. Avoiding leaving gas stoves on for heat overnight. Check regularly on the elderly and ill. Lets keep safe as we struggle to get back to normal as soon as possible.
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