The Texas Department of State Health Services is warning Texans of the dangers of carbon monoxide as cold weather wreaks havoc across the state.
Many are without power, causing them to bring in electric generators and other heat sources to stay warm. However, these machines can produce carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that's odorless and invisible.
Carbon monoxide is produced by burning gasoline, propane, wood, charcoal or other fuel. If it builds up in a confined space and people breathe it in, it can replace the oxygen in their blood, causing carbon monoxide poisoning and death.
According to DSHS, generators should only be placed outdoors at least 10 feet away from buildings. They should never be used indoors or in garages.
Cars should not be run inside of a garage, even with the door open. Carbon monoxide can build up and cause death.
Outdoor grills, camp stoves and other appliances meant to be used outside in an open-air setting should not be brought inside.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Severe headache
If you or anyone start experiencing one or more of these symptoms, move to a well-ventilated area outdoors and receive immediate medical attention.
If you are without power, DSHS offers these tips to stay warm:
- Closing blinds or curtains to trap heat inside.
- Closing off rooms to avoid wasting heat.
- Stuffing towels or rags in cracks under doors.
- Eating and drinking because food can warm the body.
- Wear multiple layers of warm, loose-fitting clothing.
For a list of warming weathers, call 2-1-1 or click here for a local list.