Six women were taken to the hospital in a South Loop carbon monoxide poisoning in a beauty salon, according to the Chicago Tribune. The incident was apparently due to an incorrect water heater hookup.

In our experience, especially when it is not the heating season, a significant number of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning involve domestic hot water heaters. The term domestic in this context is used to differentiate hot water that is used by domestic consumption, like showers, washing dishes, than from hot water that is used to heat buildings, like in boilers. The carbon monoxide poisoning in our North Mac School case was the result of a hot water heater problem, as was our Green Bay Days Inn case.

The building was evacuated, and the women were taken to the hospital in fair to serious condition. At the scene, they found levels of carbon monoxide of 300 parts per million. Above 50 parts per million is considered dangerous. The firefighters ventilated the building to decrease the carbon monoxide levels.

Headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

We would hope that those affected are getting hyperbaric oxygen treatment in this South Loop carbon monoxide poisoning.  Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is where the patient receives 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized chamber. This treatment reduces the likelihood of cognitive sequelae following the poisoning. One of the concerns for people who don’t receive this treatment is delayed neurological sequelae in the weeks following the poisoning.

It is also critical that the carboxyhemoglobin levels were tested in these women. As time passes, the levels will return to normal. The evidence will start to disappear.

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