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The New Jersey Poison Information & Education System — Serving New Jersey Since 1983
For Immediate Release
October 31, 2018
Media to contact:
800-962-1253 if outside NJ
Cold Weather Safety
- Carbon Monoxide Kills Every Year -
(Newark, NJ) – Warning. During New Jersey’s 2017 – 2018 heating season, the state’s poison control center received approximately 250 calls related to carbon monoxide (CO). Of these, 162 victims were evaluated in emergency departments and many required hospitalization.
Don’t be the poison center’s next statistic. Exposure to carbon monoxide can produce headaches, sleepiness, fatigue, confusion and irritability at low levels. At higher levels, it can result in nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, impaired vision and coordination, and death. During cold and influenza season, symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can easily be confused with symptoms of viral illnesses like the common cold and the flu.
“Prevention and early detection are crucial in preventing poisoning injury and death from carbon monoxide,” says Diane Calello, MD, Executive and Medical Director of the NJ Poison Control Center at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine. The sudden shift in frigid weather forced homeowners and landlords to have to turn on their heating systems earlier than expected; without having them properly serviced beforehand to prevent CO exposure.
“You want to catch a leak before it turns into a serious problem,” says Calello. Carbon monoxide is called the “Silent Killer” because it is a gas that gives no warning – you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. “Don’t gamble with your family’s health and well-being; CO detectors are a must.” Battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors should be put on every level of the home and near every sleeping area. Always check the batteries of both detectors (fire and CO) when changing the clocks twice a year for daylight savings time.
Safety tips to help reduce your risk of carbon monoxide exposure:
If you suspect a carbon monoxide exposure, take immediate action:
Carbon monoxide poisoning is serious. If you have questions or concerns about carbon monoxide or suspect CO exposure, call the medical professionals at the NJ Poison Control Center. If someone is unconscious, not breathing, hard to wake up, or seizing, call 9-1-1 immediately. Poison control centers are a great resource for information and emergencies. Call, text, or chat with a health professional for free, 24/7. Save the Poison Help line, 1-800-222-1222, in your phone today to be prepared for what may happen tomorrow, (www.njpies.org).
Help is Just a Phone Call Away!