MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- Westchester Medical Center is advising residents to take precautions and change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, in addition to changing clocks for daylight-saving time.
This year, daylight-saving time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday Nov. 2.
CO (carbon monoxide) is a commercially important chemical that is formed in many chemical reactions. However, it also is deadly and often is referred to as the “silent killer.” It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, highly toxic gas produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. CO also is formed as a result of the decomposition of many organic materials. Dangerous levels of CO can accumulate when the fuel is not burned properly as a result of poor installation, poor maintenance, failure of, or damage to, an appliance in service or when rooms are poorly ventilated and the carbon monoxide is unable to escape. “Carbon monoxide can produce a wide range of effects on people exposed to concentrations as low as 50 parts per million,” said Dr. Kausik Kar, medical director of the Hyperbaric Unit at Westchester Medical Center. “Symptoms may range from mild headaches and dizziness to more serious symptoms, including nausea, lethargy and even convulsions. Unfortunately, many times the more mild symptoms are often attributed to illnesses such as the flu and left untreated, resulting in the more serious complications and even death. If you believe you have a CO leak in your home or that you are suffering from the effects of CO poisoning, leave your home immediately and call 9-1-1.”
In addition, people with heart or respiratory problems as well as infants, small children, unborn children and their expectant mothers are at an increased risk for suffering from the effects of CO poisoning at a much quicker rate and may be the first to show symptoms.
CO detectors are available locally in many stores and can be installed in just a few minutes using small hand tools.