The Department for Public Health is warning of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, hypothermia and foodborne illness from possible power outages and cold weather as part of their year-long First 72 On You information campaign.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
• Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement or garage or near a window.
• Don’t run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
• Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t properly vented.
• Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
• Seek prompt medical attention by calling 911 or the Kentucky Regional Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, have a headache, chest pain or are feeling nauseous.
• To install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall for daylight savings time. If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has carbon monoxide materials available at http://www.cdc.gov/co/guidelines.htm in 17 languages.
• Hypothermia can result when the body’s temperature drops below what is necessary to maintain normal bodily functions. In severe cases or when the body is not warmed properly, death can result.
• To prevent hypothermia, wear appropriate clothing and limit the time you spend outdoors. Layer clothes made of synthetic and wool fabrics, which are best for keeping warm. Remember to wear hats, coats, scarves and gloves.
• Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, altered speech pattern, abnormally slow rate of breathing, cold pale skin and lethargy. Seek medical attention if you experiences signs of hypothermia. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.
For more information please visit https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.html.
· Refrigerated foods should be safe if power is out for no more than four hours.
· If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, read the temperature when power comes back on. If the thermometer stored in the freezer reads 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
· Throw out any perishable food in your refrigerator such as meat, poultry, lunchmeats, fish, dairy products, eggs and any prepared or cooked foods that have been above 41 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, it is safe to refreeze.
· Fresh fruits and vegetables are safe as long as they are still firm and there is no evidence of mold or sliminess. Raw meats, poultry, cheese, juices, breads and pastries can be refrozen without losing too much food quality. Prepared food, fish, vegetables and fruits in the freezer can be refrozen safely, but food quality may suffer.
· To remove spills and freshen the freezer and refrigerator, wash with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in one quart of warm water. To absorb any lingering odors, place an open box or dish of baking soda in the appliance.