Hypothermia, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Risk Increases as Temps Decrease

As a result of frigid temperatures, the risk for hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning increases.

Hypothermia, a body temperature of less than or equal to 95oF, kills many Americans every year. Infants, children, and the elderly are at greatest risk for hypothermia. Signs and symptoms of hypothermia may include:

· numbness

· fatigue

· poor coordination

· slurred speech

· impaired mental state

· blueness or puffiness of the skin

· difficulty concentrating

· death

The New Jersey Poison Information & Education System recommends:

· Stay warm and dress appropriately! For prolonged exposure to cold, wear insulated or layered clothing that does not retain moisture. Wear a head cover!

· Avoid over-exertion and excessive sweating in the cold.

· Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature.

· Avoid drinking alcohol, especially in cold temperatures.

· Some medications may increase your risk. Check with your doctor, pharmacist or call the Poison Control Center

Carbon monoxide is a clear and odorless poisonous gas. Unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning is common during severe weather conditions. Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:

· headaches

· sleepiness

· fatigue

· confusion and irritability

· nausea

· vomiting

· irregular heartbeat

· impaired vision and coordination

· death

NJPIES recommends:

» Never use gasoline powered equipment/generators or tools and/or kerosene heaters inside the house or in enclosed spaces.
» DO NOT leave the car running inside the garage with the garage door closed.
» DO NOT use charcoal or propane grills inside the home. Do NOT heat the house/apartment with the stove!
» Clear any snow accumulation from all outside dryer and heating vents. Install Carbon Monoxide detectors in homes and check them periodically to make sure they are working properly.

If you believe you or someone you know is suffering from hypothermia or carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 immediately. If you have any questions about carbon monoxide poisoning or how medications may be affected by the frigid temperatures, call the NJ Poison Experts toll free at 1-800-222-1222.

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