JOPLIN, Mo. — Every year, more than 400 people die in the US from carbon monoxide poisoning. What’s more — approximately 50,000 Americans visit the ER every year due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
“It’s an odorless, tasteless gas you don’t even know it’s there,” said Dr. Philip Slocum, Freeman Lung Center.
Making it crucial to both be aware of the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and take steps to prevent it.
“Some of those symptoms would be headache, nausea, vomiting, just not feeling like you want to eat anything which we call anorexia. Those are really the more common of the symptoms that you see what carbon monoxide poisoning,” he added.
Carbon monoxide causes problems when it binds to the blood.
“The red blood cell is the boxcar that carries oxygen throughout the body, and carbon monoxide binds to the red blood cell greater than 200 times stronger than oxygen does. And therefore once it gets onto the red blood cell, the red blood cell cannot function and carrying oxygen throughout the body.”
And the gas isn’t something you can detect on your own.
“Oftentimes accidental poisonings will occur when someone will leave an engine running such as during a power outage,” said Dr. Slocum.
Prevention focuses on alarms to warn you of the presence of carbon monoxide.
“You have to have carbon monoxide detectors. Yeah, it’s very important to have them in various rooms of the house. It’s just like a smoke alarm,” he said.