Missouri doctor warns of invisible risk of carbon monoxide poisoning


JOPLIN, Mo. — Two recent cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are prompting Pittsburg, Kansas fire fighters to remind us of the invisible risks.

“It’s a odorless, tasteless gas you don’t even know it’s there,” said Dr. Philip Slocum of the Freeman Lung Institute.

That makes 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,” said Slocum.

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.”

The gas isn’t something you can detect on your own.

“It’s a odorless, tasteless gas you don’t even know it’s there. And oftentimes accidental poisonings will occur when someone will leave a engine running such as during a power outage.”

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 fire, smoke alarm,” said Slocum.

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