Poison Prevention

After the Hurricane — Carbon Monoxide

Image via Wikimedia

Hurricane Irene just cut a destructive path along the Eastern Seaboard, leaving many people without power and faced with the daunting task of cleaning up the damage.

It’s important to know that the danger isn’t over once the hurricane blows through. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common poison-related cause of hospitalization and death in the wake of hurricanes.

It is called a “silent killer” because there are no odors or symptoms that signal a problem. When people use generators improperly – too close to homes, in garages or outside bedroom windows – carbon monoxide can seep in and sicken or even kill.

The poison experts at your local poison center have some important tips for using portable generators safely. You can check them out on the AAPCC website by clicking here.  

By the way, the doctors, nurses and pharmacists who staff your local poison control center provide help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even during emergencies. Poison centers have disaster plans in place so that if one center is damaged by a hurricane or other emergency, calls from that area can be routed immediately to another center for seamless coverage.

If you have questions about carbon monoxide or if you think you’ve been exposed, call your poison center at 1-800-222-1222.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers supports the nation’s 57 poison centers in their efforts to prevent and treat poison exposures. Poison centers offer free, private, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We take calls in more than 150 languages and from the hearing impaired.

For questions about poison or if you think someone has been exposed to a poison, call 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison center.

4 thoughts on “After the Hurricane — Carbon Monoxide

  1. From a prevention perspective, it is advantageous to recommend battery powered CO alarms instead of the plug-in variety, unless you have one or more of each type. Plug-in CO alarms are of no utility to the millions without power post-Irene.

  2. Be careful if the power is out in your apartment building. Some people will have portable generators running and others will have their windows open. The carbon monoxide can flow from your neighbor’s generator into your window.

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