Every winter, the warnings about carbon monoxide poisoning resurface.
The colorless, odorless gas often leaks from malfunctioning furnaces, causing symptoms like headache, dizziness, sleepiness, confusion and slurred speech. Memorial Hospital, which offers the only 24/7 hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a five-state region, generally treats the patients, who breath pure oxygen to lower the carbon monoxide in their blood.The hospital recently announced that it had treated several patients for carbon monoxide poisoning in the past month. Of course, not everyone recovers from the poisoning.
When I read about carbon monoxide every year, I think about Kelly Murphy. I wrote about her in 2008
, when she died of carbon monoxide poisoning that almost killed her husband and young child as well. She was 22.
The sad thing is that Murphy's death, along with many others, could have all been prevented with a simple contraption that can be purchased for as little as $20 at the hardware store: A carbon monoxide detector.
After I wrote about Murphy, I plugged in my first carbon monoxide detector. It sits in an otherwise unused outlet in my home. Most of the time I forget it's even there.