Texas Panhandle Poison Center seeing rise in carbon monoxide exposure cases

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Those without power are doing whatever they can to warm up their homes in the panhandle during this winter weather.

“We’ve seen that in our calls. There is a greater level of desperation in people who are trying to seek warmth,” said Dr. Jeanie Jaramillo-Stametz, Managing Director, Texas Panhandle Poison Center at TTUHSC-Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz says people are going to extreme lengths to keep warm.

“What we are seeing is people who are actually bringing in BBQ grills into their homes or charcoal grills into their homes, their apartments and using charcoal to heat their homes and that’s resulting in carbon monoxide exposure,” said Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz.

Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz says they’ve had about 30 cases of carbon monoxide exposure in the panhandle area since the beginning of this winter storm.

“Many of those are multiple family members that are exposed because with carbon monoxide, it’s generally not just one single person. It’s everyone in the home that’s exposed,” said Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz.

So what have been some of the causes of these cases?

“Going into a garage and running a car, even with the garage door open, you can still be producing carbon monoxide and being exposed to it and having it ventilate into the home, some space heaters can produce carbon monoxide. We don’t recommend using a stove as a mechanism for heating because that can also be harmful,” said Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz.

Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz says if you believe you might’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide, get out of the house to get some fresh air, then call 911.

“If you have anyone you can not wake up or they’re having slurred speech or really unusual presentation, then go ahead and call 911 so that you can get that system going and get them evaluated by a healthcare professional,” said Dr. Jaramillo-Stametz.

If you have any questions regarding carbon monoxide exposure, you can call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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