Many residents turn to gasoline generators, gas or charcoal grills and camp stoves during extensive power outages and clean up following extensive flooding. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health is reminding residents that these appliances may be harmful or even deadly when used improperly because of the potential for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
“We have had at least three confirmed illnesses as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning in our region following the recent storm,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health. “It’s important to remember to never use generators and charcoal or gas grills inside your home, basements, garages, or other enclosed spaces due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Residents should not operate these appliances near an open window or window air conditioner which may allow fumes to enter the home.”
CO is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can cause sudden illness and death. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and altered mental status. Get fresh air immediately and call 911 if you suspect that you or a family member has carbon monoxide poisoning.
More information about CO is available online at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/co_guidance.asp.