By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An undetected threat is growing in our area. With widespread power outages, the number of carbon monoxide cases is growing. Chester County emergency management says they have 25 cases, four are critical.
A family of five in New Garden Township was rushed to the hospital overnight with carbon monoxide poisoning. They were heating their home with a charcoal grill.
A home in West Bradford Township, Chester County, was being powered by a portable generator in a sunroom. A mother and daughter were overcome by carbon monoxide and treated at Chester County Hospital.
Many people are relying on portable generators and other things for heat and electricity, but the carbon monoxide fumes they create can be dangerous. Governor Tom Corbett was in Plymouth Meeting with renewed warnings on Thursday.
“Oftentimes, we see people will try to bring in a kerosene heater or a charcoal grill to try and help inside. We get very concerned when you do that because of carbon monoxide poisoning,” Gov. Corbett explains.
Serious cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are often treated in a hyperbaric chamber, where patients breath pressurized one-hundred-percent oxygen, which helps reverse the damage.
“Carbon monoxide is very dangerous. It’s a poisonous gas. It’s odorless and colorless,” warns Dr. Peter Sananman, an emergency medicine specialist with Penn Medicine.
Dr. Sananman says the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be subtle and are not easily recognized in time.
“You oftentimes can have a flu-like illness. You get a headache, you feel achy all over, you don’t feel well. You feel fatigued, and it would be very reasonable in the cold weather to think, ‘Oh, I’m just getting the flu,’” says Dr. Sananman.
Carbon monoxide, which can also leak from pipe work, will eventually cause people to pass out and can cause organ damage, followed by death.
Because carbon monoxide is so difficult to detect, officials recommend detectors, which are often used in combination with smoke detectors.
For more info, visit:
Carbon Monoxide Information – www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Carbon Monoxide Poison Control Information – www.chop.edu/service/poison-control-center/resources-for-families/poisons-in-and-around-home/carbon-monoxide.html