Health Watch - Prevention: Carbon Monoxide Poison

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’re talking about preventing some serious medical problems with a few simple steps. You could prevent the number one cause of poisoning with one purchase and a few precautions.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that kills hundreds of Americans every year. Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, a toxicologist and emergency room physician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says most cases are caused by poorly installed or maintained gas appliances, running gasoline engines indoors and cooking with charcoal indoors. You can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by having gas appliances maintained regularly by and using them only as directed. Don’t run car engines in a closed garage and don’t use grills or camp stoves indoors. They’re made to be used only outdoors. Consider purchasing a carbon monoxide detector so you and your family will be warned if carbon monoxide levels get dangerously high.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in emergency medicine.


February 2009

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