Beware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning During Summer Activities

Experts urge caution around the backs of pontoon boats, especially those parked close together. Photo Credit: ttarasiuk/flickr

Stephanie Carson
Public News Service

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Carbon monoxide often is thought of as a winter threat with the use of heaters, but summer recreation activities also can generate the gas that could prove deadly if you’re exposed to it in confined spaces.

Every year, the state receives reports of carbon monoxide poisoning from people using campers, boats and other recreational equipment with engines.

“These are places where people tend to be sort of in a small space and they’re often using gas stoves, or running machines, or even their car,” explains Dr. Tim Jones, state epidemiologist at the Tennessee Department of Health.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include a headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

If you suspect you or someone else is experiencing it, open all windows and doors and go to an area with fresh air.

If someone is sick, call 911 and the American Association of Poison Control Centers at (800) 222-1222.

To prevent poisoning from happening, inspect your RV generator regularly, test your vehicles carbon monoxide detector, and never use a gas generator inside of a home.

Jones says sometimes the sickness may take you by surprise.

“We’ve had some very severe cases where people have been swimming underneath pontoon boats, sort of in between the pontoons, where air is kind of still and exhaust has accumulated under there,” he relates.

Nationwide, 20,000 to 30,000 people are sickened by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and approximately 500 people die, many in their own homes.