With tonight's big freeze here in Central Texas we anticipate an increase in carbon monoxide poisonings and visits to the Emergency Department at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center here in Round Rock. "As we turn on our heating systems on and light up our fireplaces for the first time, the potential for carbon monoxide buildup in homes rises," explains Dr. Ross Tobleman, MD, Emergency Medical Director, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Round Rock.
Hundreds die every year of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, which is preventable. Carbon monoxide is produced any time you burn fuel in cars, trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces.
Dr. Ross Tobleman says carbon monoxide exposure causes these warning signs:
You CANNOT rely on your nose to detect carbon monoxide, since it's odorless, so a working carbon monoxide detector in your home is critical.
To help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, Dr. Tobleman offers the following:
- Have your heating system checked by a qualified technician.
- Have your chimney cleaned annually to be sure it's clear of debris and vents properly.
- Don't use a gas range or oven to heat your home.
- Don't use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors.
- Don't use a gas generator inside your home or garage.
- Don't use homemade patches, such as duct tape, to repair a vent pipe.