Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley is issuing a warning to the community about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning as in the last two weeks, at least four area residents have been hospitalized due to improperly heating their homes during the ongoing Public Safety Power Shutoffs.
“This is a very real public health issue,” Jeff Lingerfelt, AHTV president, said in a hospital news release issued Wednesday. “As we brace for more of these unexpected power outages during the winter season, we want our friends and neighbors to know how to properly heat their homes so they’re not at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”
One person was hospitalized after passing out in their home after a generator was started inside their garage, and a pregnant woman was poisoned after heating her home with her oven. All individuals admitted to the new hospital have survived, according to the AHTV news release.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when odorless gases are released anytime fuel is burned, such as in an emergency generator or oven. The emitted carbon monoxide attaches to red blood cells with no way to diffuse through the bloodstream," added the release.
Residents are encouraged to install battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors in their homes, and educate themselves on the proper use of emergency generators.
Those who suspect they or a loved one is experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning are urged to call 9-1-1 immediately or seek emergency medical treatment.
"Symptoms include extreme fatigue, shortness of breath and glassy eyes. It can lead to neurological damage, and if left untreated, is fatal,” said the release.
Jules Vasquez-Lowers, an Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley respiratory therapist, said in the release, “The fatigue creeps up on you, and if you’ve developed carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator kept indoors or an open oven and then go to sleep because you’re tired, you may not wake up.”