If you’re traveling over the holidays, make sure where you stay—whether it be a hotel or rented home—has a working carbon monoxide detector on premises.
The actress Anna Faris and her family had a frightening incident over Thanksgiving.
The “Scary Movie” actress rented a home with her family in Lake Tahoe, a popular vacation destination on the California-Nevada border. Two of Faris’s family members on the vacation felt ill during dinner and left to get checked out at a local hospital. They were diagnosed with carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, according to an article in USA Today.
Carbon monoxide, or “CO,” is an odorless, colorless gas that can be lethal. It is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuels like gasoline, natural gas, heating oil or when wood is burned. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.
Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires. More than 20,000 people visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized, according to the CDC.
“The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are a headache, confusion, and other flu-like symptoms,” said Dr. Teriggi Ciccone, Medical Director for Winchester Hospital Urgent Care. “If you inhale too much CO, you can faint and fall into a coma. Death can occur when the CO in your blood reduces the amount of oxygen getting to your brain.”
People who are sleeping or have been drinking can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.
Everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning but the elderly, small children and infants are at an increased risk.
Always make sure there’s a working detector where you’re sleeping. Sometimes people forget about details like this when they’re on vacation, but as Anna Faris can attest, they are worth thinking about.
For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, speak with your health care provider.