martes, 16 de diciembre de 2008
Fear this silent killer
Man in 40s recovering after exposure to deadly carbon monoxide
By ALYSSA NOEL, SUN MEDIA
*A man in his 40s is recovering from a serious bout of carbon monoxide poisoning after trying to warm an attached garage with a camping stove yesterday, a fire spokesman says.
Three others, including two children and a man in his 20s, were also taken to the Misericordia hospital from a home near 151 Avenue and 115 Street.
The man was initially listed in critical condition, but has stabilized after treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, a hospital spokesman said.
Every winter, senior respiratory therapist Grant Paulhus sees a handful of patients suffering from poisoning.
"We have to remind the public that carbon monoxide is dangerous and can kill you.
"You have to take appropriate precautions if you're using heating devices in your home or garage," Paulhus said.
The chambers, the only publicly funded machines of their kind in the province, work by exposing patients to 100% oxygen that's pressurized, which causes oxygen to move into their plasma quickly, removing the carbon monoxide from red blood cells.
The recent poisonings are a reminder for Edmontonians about the dangers of the so-called silent killer, said Jim Czelenski, a public education officer with fire services.
Carbon monoxide is odourless, tasteless and colourless.
Its symptoms - including headaches, dizziness, fatigue and nausea - resemble those of the flu.
And that's what sufferers often dismiss it as such.
Eventually, they pass out and, if no one notices, it could be fatal, he said.
Besides appliances like the camping stove in yesterday's incident, furnaces and cars are two other culprits.
"The two biggest messages are get your appliances checked regularly by a professional and obviously don't be running your vehicle in the garage, especially with the door closed," Czelenski said.
"That's a bad situation."
Although carbon monoxide detectors are mandatory for all buildings with fuel-burning appliances, some people still don't purchase them, Czelenski said.
In 2005, a 53-year-old city woman died after a suspected leaky furnace released gas into her home. She and two others living in the house were discovered unconscious by a friend. In 2006, four people, including two children, were taken to hospital after an allegedly tampered furnace began to leak in an apartment building. Then, last January, eight seniors from an assisted living facility 260 km southeast of Edmonton in Linden were sent to the Misericordia with carbon monoxide poisoning.