Tag Archives: CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Beware Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning During Power Outage

If your home experiences a power outage due to a hurricane, tornado or severe storm, be careful when using alternative power sources because they can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up and poison the people and animals inside.

CO is found in fumes produced by portable generators, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says CO poisoning is entirely preventable and that there are steps you can take to help protect yourself and your household from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. Also, learn the symptoms of CO poisoning.

How to recognize CO poisoning

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms.

CO poisoning prevention tips

  • Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.
  • Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
  • If CO poisoning is suspected, consult a health care professional right away.

For more information, please visit the CDC’s Carbon Monoxide Poisoning website.

Combating mosquitoes is an inside/outside job

Families and individuals play a big role in helping control the mosquito population as well as the spread of diseases the pesky insects spread. It’s an inside/outside job.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you do the following to protect yourself and your family:

Control mosquitoes outside your home

Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs

  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.

Kill mosquitoes outside your home

  • Use an outdoor insect spray made to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest.
  • Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage.

Control mosquitoes inside your home

Keep mosquitoes out

  • Install or repair and use window and door screens. Do not leave doors propped open.
  • Use air conditioning when possible.

Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs

  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like vases and flowerpot saucers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.

Kill mosquitoes inside your home

  • Kill mosquitoes inside your home. Use an indoor insect fogger or indoor insect spray to kill mosquitoes and treat areas where they rest.
  • Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid places like under the sink, in closets, under furniture, or in the laundry room.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on controlling mosquitoes at home. You can also find information on mosquitoes by visiting DHEC’s website.

Be prepared for winter weather

With snow predicted for parts of South Carolina Saturday, now is a good time to remember to prepare for winter weather. Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. The best way to stay safe and healthy is to plan ahead and prepare your homes and cars for possible bad weather.

Snowfall, ice storms and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. Even areas that normally experience mild winters can be hit with an ice storm or extreme cold. If you are prepared, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Take precautions

Here are some tips from the SC Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help in your preparation:

  • Include winter supplies like shovels and rock salt in your household emergency kit.
  • Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.
  • Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
  • Portable generators are commonly used in the winter as a result of storm-induced power outages. Carbon monoxide fumes are odorless and deadly. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to prevent death from carbon monoxide.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
  • Chimneys should be cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Have your vehicle serviced to ensure it is prepared for the winter season.
  • In every vehicle, place a winter emergency kit that includes: a shovel; windshield scraper and small broom; flashlight; battery-powered radio; extra batteries; water; snack food; matches; extra hats, socks and mittens; first aid kit with a pocket knife; medications; blankets; tow chain or rope; road salt and sand; booster cables; emergency flares; and a fluorescent distress flag.
  • When outdoor wear appropriate outdoor clothing: a tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket; inner layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
  • Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories. If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.

Watch out for family and friends

Above all, be ready to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults and the chronically ill. Bring pets inside. If you can’t bring them inside, be sure they have adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.

Download SCEMD’s Severe Winter Weather Guide. Also, visit the CDC’s website for more information about staying safe and healthy in the winter.