by Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph.
America’s poison centers are urging people in the path of Hurricane Sandy to exercise caution when using portable generators to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common poison-related cause of hospitalization and death in the wake of hurricanes, says the American Association of Poison Control Centers. It is called a “silent killer” because there are no odors or symptoms that signal a problem.
When people use generators improperly – too close to homes, in garages or outside bedroom windows – carbon monoxide can seep in and sicken or even kill. Open windows or outside garage doors do not provide adequate ventilation for generators or other gas-powered equipment.