November 6, 2012

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Seven Rockland residents hospitalized due to CO poisoning

POMONA – Seven Rockland County residents have been hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning since Hurricane Sandy, County Health Commissioner Dr. Joan Facelle said Monday.

During a power outage, generators and other gas-operated equipment are useful for providing electricity but can be dangerous if not used properly, she said. They can produce high levels of carbon monoxide quickly. Known as the “silent killer,” CO poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms including nausea, headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, sleepiness, and weakness. “In large amounts, carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness, brain damage or death,” said Facelle.

The health department made a number of recommended precautions including not to burn charcoal, barbecue, or gas grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent or fireplace; never use a gas range or oven for warmth; always put generators outdoors on a dry surface, away from doors, windows, vents and air conditioning equipment; opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO build-up in a home; follow the instructions that come with a generator; and install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up on every level of a home and within 10 feet of the entrance to all bedrooms and sleeping areas.

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