Health Watch — Holiday Havoc: Heating

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about the havoc of the holiday season and how to deal with some holiday stresses. Previously, we discussed the risk of fires and burns from candles and fireplaces. But that’s not the only danger that can come from a fireplace.

An improperly vented fireplace can cause a build-up of carbon monoxide in the home, and that can be deadly. Before you fire up the fireplace to make your holiday gathering cozier, make sure that the chimney and flue are clear of leaves and other debris and make sure there’s a good source of fresh air. Dr. Paul Pepe, chairman of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says if everyone in the house develops a headache at the same time, there may be a problem with your fireplace or heater. Get people outside and check for carbon monoxide right away.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/emergency to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in emergency care.

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December 2008

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