Thursday, January 28, 2016


The tragic story of the deaths last weekend of New Jersey mother and her 1- year old son from carbon monoxide poisoning reminded me of my own close call with the silent killer a year ago.

The 23-year old mother and her two children took refuge inside the running vehicle while her husband dug out from under the raging blizzard, The tailpipe clogged with snow forcing carbon monoxide into the car. A 3-year old girl survived.

I nearly became a statistic, a victim of Carbon-Monoxide Poisoning last winter. I know know that a chronic poisoning, even at a  low level,  can not be cleared up with a bit of fresh air. 

You may get some relief but the deterioration may be gradual so it could be some time before you notice.  If you begin to feel sick, dizzy, or weak, you should leave the area at once and get some fresh air. These are the initial signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Call your local medical emergency number for aid.

In my rush after work to pick-up kids, have supper and prepare  for my 7:00 class at Memorial, I unwisely decided to spend a few minutes ensuring the snow blower was in working order for Friday's anticipated storm.

One of the doors was wide-open on my shed, allowing fresh air and ventilation. I could not pull-it over manually, so I plugged it in. After a couple of attempts, the auto start worked and the shagging thing came to life. I pulled the choke down a little, deciding to let it run a little and headed into the house for a cup of tea and a bite to eat before class.

20  minutes later, I put my notes in the van and went out back to the shed to shut down the snow blower, satisfied it was ready for the anticipated snowfall.  The shed was dark and full of fumes.  I felt a little light headed and noxious but figured some fresh air would shake it off.

After class, I felt very flu-ish, disoriented and tired, attributing it to skipping supper and  forgetting to take my diabetes medication.  I started feeling a stitch in my chest and shoulders and some vertigo. Reluctantly, Kristine convinced me to head to the Health Science Center where Within ten minutes of registration I was given a bed, a gown, a breathing mask with  %100 humidified oxygen, and an EKG.I was told that I had the blood of a heavy smoker (i do not smoke). I had dodged the bullet! 

With a big snow fall predicted for tomorrow night, remember carbon monoxide poisoning is an important factor to consider in the operation of snowblower! .Starting it in a closed-up space such as your shed or garage is a bad idea! Do not leave a snowblower unattended after it has been turned on - even in a well-ventilated area. Respecting snowblower safety guidelines regarding CO poisoning will ensure that no harm comes to you, or your family.

Carbon monoxide kills!

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