Poison control center warns New Mexicans about carbon monoxide risk | KOB 4
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Poison control center warns New Mexicans about carbon monoxide risk

Colton Shone
December 13, 2017 05:20 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- It can't be seen, tasted or even smelled, but it can be lethal. New Mexico Poison Control and Drug Information Center says during this time of year, they get an influx of carbon monoxide exposure.

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While many areas of New Mexico haven't yet seen the typical frigid temperatures this season, many are waking up to below freezing temperatures. That means people at home are keeping warm by turning on the heat.

Jacqueline Kakos, a health educator with the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, said they see a spike in phone calls at their call center with people reporting they may have been exposed.

"Folks have a headache, nauseated, everything that would come with the flu. So a lot of times, folks confuse these symptoms for the flu because this is also flu season," Kakos said.

The New Mexico Department of Health reports 221 people were hospitalized for carbon monoxide exposure from 2007 to 2016. According to the center, December was the busiest month for carbon monoxide exposures last year with 72 reports. They're starting to come in this year too.

"This can kill you too," Kakos said. "What most often times happens is folks go to sleep and without knowing they have unsafe carbon monoxide levels and they just don't wake up."

Poison control experts say the only way to determine if carbon monoxide levels are at dangerous levels is with a carbon monoxide detector. Those can be purchased at almost any hardware store. Kakos said to put them on each floor of your home and to replace batteries twice a year.

Other ways to prevent exposure include:

  • Don't use charcoal grills indoors
  • Don't use an oven to heat your home
  • Don't warm up your car inside an enclosed garage
  • Don't run a generator inside of your home

Credits

Colton Shone

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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