Tomorrow could be too late


By Dan Killoy
 
We all sit back never expecting that our lives could be touched by a cataclysmic event that would forever change our family dynamics. I am addressing this issue after being slapped in the face by such an incident. 
Early Tuesday morning I received a call from my ex-wife telling me that three of my children, my granddaughter and my daughter-in-law had been overcome by CO - carbon monoxide gas while they slept and were all in the hospital. Fortunately my son woke up with a pounding headache, went looking for some aspirin and found that his mother was also suffering the same symptoms. They checked on my granddaughter and found her to be nauseous and listless. A quick trip to the hospital determined that they were all suffering from a large dose of CO poison.
The Silent Killer – CO is a colorless, odorless, highly poisonous gas that is produced by incomplete combustion. It is found in automobile exhaust fumes, faulty stoves and heating systems. Other sources include wood burning stoves, kerosene heaters, improperly vented water heaters and gas stoves, and blocked and poorly maintained chimney flues. 
CO interferes with the ability of the blood to carry oxygen. Symptoms of CO poisoning in order of increasing severity include: Severe headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, mental confusion, loss of hand eye coordination, nausea, convulsions, rapid heart rate, hallucinations, lower body temperature, seriously low blood pressure, cardiac failure and if not treated, finally death by asphyxiation.  
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 2,000 Americans die each year from accidental exposure to CO. An additional 10,000 people seek medical attention after exposure to CO. Also noted was that 64 percent of unintentional CO poisoning deaths occur in the home, with automobiles, and work deaths making up the difference.
I encourage all of you to take notice. Don’t let a day go by without addressing this issue in your homes. CO poisoning is preventable!!!! Particular care should be paid to situations where fuel is burned in a confined area. 
Portable and permanently installed CO detectors that sound a shrill warning similar to smoke detectors are available for less than $50. 
Also recommended: 
* Have your heating system and appliances installed by a qualified contractor. 
* Ensure inspection and proper maintenance of heating systems, chimneys, and appliances. 
* Do not use a gas oven or stove or oven to heat a home. a Do not burn charcoal indoors. 
* Make sure there is good ventilation if using a kerosene heater indoors. 
* Do not leave cars or trucks running inside the garage. 
* Keep car windows rolled up when stuck in heavy traffic, especially if inside a tunnel.

Don’t let “Manana” put the ones you love at risk of this silent killer; get it done today.  

Article Type: 
Guest Opinion

Thank you for sharing the news of your family's near tragedy Dan. Please accept my hopes for their quick recovery. Your article was very well stated. I would add one other source. In these times when some people are at risk of having their power disconnected due to inability to pay, many generators will be put to regular use. For most rural folks livng on occasion without power, or who use portable power, generator use is well known. For those employing them for home use and are new to them for this purpose, be aware not to run them in a basement, attached shed, or in the home. These too can kill from emissions.

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