West Side Family Hospitalized in Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Chicago

The latest carbon monoxide poisoning in Chicago involves children. A tragedy is almost always made worse when there are children involved. This rule of thumb is no different with the carbon monoxide poisoning in Chicago Saturday. The colorless, odorless, tasteless gas can be a silent killer. And it is especially dangerous in small children, because their bodies are smaller. It is easy for the poisonous gas to overtake their bodies than full-grown adults. They also have faster respiration rates, meaning the carbon monoxide gets into their bloodstream faster. It can also be particularly harmful to the elderly.

Carbon monoxide poisoning in Chicago often happens in the City's poorest neighborhoods

Carbon Monoxide poisoning in Chicago hospitalizes five in a West Side Family.

Five people were hospitalized on Saturday for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to ABC 7 News. The victims included three children, aged 4, 5, and 8. The two adults were both in their sixties.

As with many carbon monoxide poisonings, this one was associated with the weather becoming colder. The family was using their stove to generate heat. This was the source of the carbon monoxide. On the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention page, it says, “never use a gas range or oven to heat the home.” Sometimes the case may be that the person does not know enough about carbon monoxide to prevent a tragedy. This is why education about the issue becomes so important.

In one study of non-fire related, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning deaths from 1999 to 2004, Illinois had the third highest number of deaths for this reason, second only to Pennsylvania. Highly populated states, such as Texas, New York, and California, had higher-than-average numbers, but not higher than Illinois and Pennsylvania. Illinois’s deaths came in at 155 deaths, while Pennsylvania came in at 160, even though these states have lower populations than others. The reason why is unclear. Close behind was Texas at 148 deaths, Ohio at 139, and Florida at 137.

Carbon monoxide poisoning in the face of inclement weather is also a factor in higher carbon monoxide deaths. Especially in the face of storms, such as winter storms, carbon monoxide poisonings go up. The power is often lost and people can pull in outdoor generators indoors to try to power the house. This can lead to death within minutes. Never running a generator indoors is another prevention tip given on the CDC website.

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, and confusion. While these can mimic symptoms of the flu, it is sometimes hard to tell if the issue is carbon monoxide poisoning. This illustrates why it is so important to have carbon monoxide detectors in the home where the people are. They will hear the alarm and know what the problem is, instead of laying down, falling asleep, and breathing in more of the potentially deadly gas.

From the Chicago news story, it is not totally clear what prompted the victims to seek help. The one clue was that they were taken to the hospital in serious condition. It seems that in the West Side carbon monoxide case, they may have all been feeling seriously ill, and then decided to call for help. The firefighters had arrived to the home in the Austin neighborhood around 2:30, according to the Chicago Sun Times. After that, they sent investigators to the building to inspect the appliances and to secure the meter. This was to ensure that it would be a safe return home.

It also seems that the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Chicago took place in an apartment building. This is especially dangerous because there are many people living in one building. It doesn’t seem that anyone else was injured in the poisoning. The law in Illinois requires that every unit of an apartment building have a working carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of every room so long as there is natural gas used in the home or an attached garage, according to the Illinois General Assembly. This is called the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act.

Carbon monoxide alarms in the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Chicago could have prevented the inhabitants from becoming as sick as they did. They could have known earlier and evacuated the unit before it became too serious. These devices can save lives. As the CDC says on its website, “CO poisoning is entirely preventable.” Detection is the key.

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