Carbon monoxide hazards rise in wintry weather

January 23, 2018

(HealthDay)—Along with other hazards, winter storms bring with them an increased risk for illness and death from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is a gas known as the silent killer because you can't see, smell or taste it, Dr. Diane Calello explained in a news release from Rutgers University.

To reduce your risk for and poisoning, Calello, medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center, said it's important to:

  • Only use generators outside and keep them more than 20 feet from both your and your neighbor's home, doors and or windows. Carbon monoxide gas from a generator can enter homes if the generator is too close.
  • Clear snow from all heating and dryer vents. Be sure that gas appliances have adequate ventilation. If necessary, keep a window slightly open to allow airflow. Make sure you open the flue when using a fireplace, too.
  • Never use the stove to heat your home. Never use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside. This includes inside your home, basement, garage, carport, camper, boat cabin or tent. Don't even use these devices outside near an open window or door.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Monitor the batteries and replace them if needed. If detectors are old or not working properly, replace them immediately.
  • Don't idle a car in a closed garage. Don't idle a car in a snowbank, either. If your car is stuck in the snow, clear the tailpipe and surrounding area to keep exhaust fumes from getting into the car.

If you suspect poisoning, call 911 immediately and get everyone out of the building. Don't waste time opening windows. Also call the Poison Control Center—1-800-222-1222—for immediate treatment advice, Calello said.

Explore further: Beware carbon monoxide dangers when cold weather strikes

More information: SOURCE: Rutgers University, news release, January 2018

The National Safety Council has more on carbon monoxide.

Related Stories

Beware carbon monoxide dangers when cold weather strikes

January 6, 2018
(HealthDay)—As temperatures plummet across the northern half of the United States this weekend, gas heating use goes up. So does the risk for accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Snowstorms and power outages present elevated risk for carbon monoxide poisoning

April 8, 2014
While preventable, carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Large weather events, such as snowstorms and heavy storms that cause power outages, can lead to an increase in the number of reported ...

Carbon monoxide poisoning: an underestimated threat

August 16, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Every year in the United States, nearly 450 people die and more than 2,000 people are hospitalized following accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, a new study shows.

UK experts warn of increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

January 15, 2014
Wintry weather and extremely cold temperatures mean an increased chance of cases involving carbon monoxide poisoning in the workplace. When fuel-burning equipment or tools are used in buildings or in semi-enclosed spaces ...

Post-Irene outages can present health hazards

September 1, 2011
Prolonged power outages aren’t just inconvenient. They can be hazardous.

Recommended for you

Study shows magnesium optimizes vitamin D status

December 14, 2018
A randomized trial by Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers indicates that magnesium optimizes vitamin D status, raising it in people with deficient levels and lowering it in people with high levels.

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

A holiday gift to primary care doctors: Proof of their time crunch

December 14, 2018
The average primary care doctor needs to work six more hours a day than they already do, in order to make sure their patients get all the preventive and early-detection care they want and deserve, a new study finds.

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find

December 12, 2018
When Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall of 2016, the massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Elementary schools started earlier, while ...

Large restaurant portions a global problem, study finds

December 12, 2018
A new multi-country study finds that large, high-calorie portion sizes in fast food and full service restaurants is not a problem unique to the United States. An international team of researchers found that 94 percent of ...

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.