Along with damaging winds and rain, hurricanes also bring the threat of poisonings with them.
According to the Carolinas Poison Center, CO (Carbon Monoxide) poisoning is a concern during massive storms. CO can form when people burn fuels like gasoline, kerosene, wood, oil natural gas and methane without proper ventilation. The Poison Center recommends:
· Only use generators outside – keep them 20 feet away from your home, doors and windows. Never bring them inside.
· Never use a gas stove, camp stove or charcoal grill inside.
· Keep your carbon monoxide detector up to date – on every level of your home as well as a battery backup.
Symptoms of CO poisoning can feel like the flu. If you are having headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness or confusion, get to fresh air and call the center (1-800-222-1222).
With power outages and glitches, refrigerators and freezers can run sporadically, turning many of the stored items into hazardous foods. The Poison Center recommends:
· Keep your freezer and refrigerator doors closed – a full freezer usually keeps food cold for about 48 hours. Refrigerators will keep food cold for about four hours.
· Place a thermometer in both appliances to monitor temperatures – if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher, throw perishable food away.
· Have food on hand that does not need to be refrigerated.
· Boil water if your water service has been hindered.
Wild animals, including snakes, will be displaced by Hurricane Florence and some may seek shelter in odd places – such as your home. Be aware.
· Watch where you step when flooding has occurred, even in areas that are not under water.
· Carry a flashlight at night and at dusk to aid your sight.
· Never attempt to relocate or kill these animals because they might bite you in the process.
The NC Poison Control Center is available by phone (1-800-222-1222) or chat (www.NCPoisonCenter.org) if you think a poisoning has occurred. Phone lines can sometimes be busy in a storm. If internet connection is available, chatting with poison control may be a more reliable form of communication. South Carolina residents can refer to the Palmetto Poison Center and call 803-777-7909.