Health Watch - Warmth: Carbon Monoxide

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.


We’re in the depths of winter, and at this time of year, staying warm is a priority. This week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about staying safe while you stay warm. While keeping your home warm is important on a cold winter’s day, heat sources can also be a source of poison.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas formed by incomplete burning of fuels such as wood, charcoal, oil or gas. Hundreds of Americans die every year of carbon monoxide poisoning. Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, an emergency medicine physician and toxicologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says most cases of carbon monoxide poisoning come from improperly installed gas appliances, running gasoline engines in garages, using gas stoves indoors for heat or cooking with charcoal indoors. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, use appliances properly and install carbon monoxide detectors. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath.

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

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January 2010


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