Health Officials Alert Public to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Feb. 16, 2021
With power outages from this week’swinter storm affecting large portions of Texas, the Texas Department of StateHealth Services is urging people to use extreme caution with electricgenerators and heat sources that produce carbon monoxide.
Generators should only be placedoutdoors at least 10 feet away from buildings. They should never be operated indoors or in garages. Likewise, carsshould not be run inside a garage, even with the door open, because carbonmonoxide can build up, leading to death. Outdoor grills, camp stoves and other appliancesmeant for open-air use should not be used to heat a home because they, too,create carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless andinvisible gas produced by burning gasoline, propane, wood, charcoal and otherfuel. If it builds up in a confined space and people breathe it in, it canreplace the oxygen in their blood leading to carbon monoxide poisoning anddeath.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoninginclude dizziness, drowsiness, severe headache, weakness, nausea and confusion.Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should go – or be moved to – awell-ventilated area outdoors and receive immediate medical attention.
People without power can take stepsto stay warm by:
- Closing blinds or curtains to trap heat inside.
- Closing off rooms to avoid wasting heat.
- Stuffing towels or rags in cracks under doors.
- Eating and drinking because food can warm the body.
- Wear multiple layers of warm, loose-fitting clothing.
Those who need a warm place to go dueto the winter weather affecting Texas can locate approximately 200 warmingcenters across the state at tdem.texas.gov/warming-centers.
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