Lourdes Experts Offer Tips on Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Friday, November 3, 2006
It's known as the silent killer. In 2005, approximately 250 people died in the United States from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless toxic gas produced as a by-product of combustion. Accidental deaths from CO poisoning tend to rise this time of year, when people turn on their furnaces as the temperature drops. Twice in the past two weeks alone, the staff in the Emergency Room at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center has treated multiple victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to Alfred Sacchetti, M.D., Chief of Emergency Medicine at Lourdes. "In those incidents, thanks to quick thinking and, in one case, a working a CO detector, disaster was avoided," said Dr. Sacchetti. How can you safeguard yourself this winter? Dr. Sacchetti offers these suggestions on how to protect you and your family:
- Don't leave your car running inside your garage, even if the
door is open. If you are trying to warm up your car, park it outside first.
- Be sure to check your furnace and other gas-powered
utilities before the start of the winter season. Make sure there are no
cracks or leaks.
- Inspect your chimney to be sure it isn't clogged and have it
professionally cleaned each year so smoke doesn't back up in the home.
- Be alert to the danger signs that signal a CO problem:
streaks of carbon or soot around the service door of your fuel-burning
appliances; the absence of a draft in your chimney; excessive rusting on
flue pipes or appliance jackets; moisture collecting on the windows and
walls of furnace rooms; fallen soot from the fireplace; small amounts of
water leaking from the base of the chimney, vent or flue pipe; damaged or
discolored bricks at the top of your chimney and rust on the portion of the
vent pipe visible from outside your home.
- Buy a CO detector and install one on each floor of your home. If you already have one, remember to replace the batteries to keep it functioning properly.