Baltimore, MD – WJZ – There’s been an unusually large number of carbon monoxide deaths so far this year. Last weekend alone, physicians at Maryland’s Shock Trauma treated 10 people with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
All patients were treated in the center’s hyperbaric unit, which is a pressurized chamber that flushes oxygen through the body. Doctors say it’s a common treatment for patients suffering from the nation’s leading cause of poisoning.
Noting that most carbon monoxide poisoning cases result from faulty household furnaces, Shock Trauma’s Dr. Robert Rosenthal says the number of cases nationwide spike during the winter, and Baltimore is not immune to the increase.
“Every winter is bad…but if you realize we went from warm to cold very quickly… a lot of people turned on their furnaces without recognizing the fact that they were going to have to have them serviced, ” Dr. Rosenthal tells WJZ’s Gigi Barnett.
According to doctors, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are non-specific and resemble flu symptoms. This includes headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Severe cases potentially lead to death.
Many doctors believe carbon monoxide detectors in homes and businesses can keep patients out of emergency rooms this winter. They advise people to check and service furnaces and generators every year