Carbon Monoxide (CO) can be found in the exhaust of gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns or by burning charcoal and wood. Every year, more than 400 people in the U.S. die from accidental CO poisoning. Follow these simple tips and you’ll safely stay warm this winter.
Safely heating your home, cabin or ice house:
• Have a working carbon monoxide detector in your structure.
• Make sure your heating equipment and vent pipes are in good condition.
• Keep a window cracked for ventilation.
• Do not use fuel-burning equipment in your structure.
• Never run a generator or other gasoline-powered engine outside an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can come in.
Early symptoms of CO poisoning:
Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, you may not know
that you’ve been exposed. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu:
• Shortness of breath
• Nausea and vomiting
Treating carbon monoxide poisoning:
The main treatment of CO poising is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO). During HBO, a patient breathes 100% oxygen while inside a chamber at increased atmospheric pressure. Besides CO poisoning, HBO has long been recognized as vital in the resolution of other critical medical conditions such as gas gangrene, air embolism due to diving, trauma, or surgical procedures, and decompression sickness. It is also an important adjunct for specific wound healing conditions.
Hennepin County Medical Center has been delivering HBO to patients from Minnesota and nearby states for 45 years. The only facility in Minnesota from 1964 to 2008, it has unsurpassed experience in the field of Hyperbaric Medicine and in the management of critically ill patients undergoing HBO.