Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning during cold spells

February 7, 2019

Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning during cold spells

When temperatures drop and electrical power fails from too much demand or from downed lines, don't bring a generator into the house to power portable heaters. Small gas engines, camp stoves, charcoal grills, and other heat-producing devices also can emit carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include persistent, severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue.   Beth Ebel, a physician at Harborview Medical Center, says the most worrisome thing about carbon monoxide is that victims often don't get to the hospital emergency room in time to survive.

Here's a list of resources to prepare for the weather:

  • If you or a family you know is struggling in Washington state, call 211 to get help.
  • What to do when your home power goes out
  • What to pack in your car and your home in case of emergency
U.S. Air Force

Terms of appropriate usage of file downloads

  • News reporters and news organizations may freely republish and distribute videos, still images and audio files produced by UW Medicine and the University of Washington School of Medicine.
  • Works must be attributed/credited appropriately (for example, “UW Medicine” – as denoted in the file) and must not be used for commercial purposes.
  • These visual and audio files may not be used to exploit or misrepresent UW Medicine or the University of Washington.
  • UW Medicine often licenses still images and stock video from Getty Images, but we cannot grant republishing rights. You may not republish single image files, videos or animations credited to Getty Images.
  • Logos of UW Medicine and University of Washington Health Sciences schools may not be republished without explicit permission. Contact us by phone or email: 206.543.3620 or