November 21 — PROVO — The recent carbon monoxide incident in a southern Utah elementary school should put families across the state on alert for ways to prevent CO problems at home, according to experts at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center
“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and people often don’t realize there’s a problem until it’s too late,” said Marc Robins, DO, director of Hyperbaric Medicine
at Utah Valley Regional. “Families should learn from the experience at Montezuma Creek Elementary School and take time now to install a CO monitor in their homes or check their existing monitor.”
CO is produced by any gas-powered or gas-burning object. During winter months, people often run into problems with vehicles warming up in garages, furnaces or stoves malfunctioning, barbecues being used inside and portable heaters operating in an enclosed work space.
“Everyone should have a CO monitor on each level of their home, just like a smoke detector. Monitors will alert you to an increase in CO so you can take action before serious problems occur,” said Dr. Robins, adding monitors should be replaced every five years.
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are dizziness, nausea, headaches and mental confusion. Prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to permanent health challenges.
“If an entire family is experiencing the same symptoms at the same time, then they should definitely think about carbon monoxide poisoning,” Dr. Robins said.
The immediate treatment for CO poisoning is exposure to clean, fresh air. If symptoms persist, individuals should seek treatment in an emergency room. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be considered to reduce possible long-term complications.
For more information, please contact Janet Frank at 801.357.7766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.