Title

Does public education reduce ice storm-related carbon monoxide exposure?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2005

Identifier

DOI: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2005.05.003

Abstract

Public education to prevent carbon monoxide exposure during ice storms has been recommended; its effects remain unexamined. We compared patients seen for carbon monoxide inhalation at the area's only academic Emergency Department during 1991 and 2003 ice storms; educational efforts were more intense in 2003. There were fewer patients during the second storm (45 vs. 55); all recovered fully. The percentage of Caucasian patients rose (from 57% to 89%) whereas that of African-American patients fell (from 39% to 7%). Indoor grill use, associated with 11% of 1991 cases, was eliminated in 2003. Indoor gas generators remain the most common source. Carboxyhemoglobin levels correlate poorly with ambient carbon monoxide levels. Enhanced public education had a modest effect, especially in reducing the proportion of African-American patients and those from indoor grill use. Research on more effective public health education targeted at gas generator users and combined with physical interventions should be considered.

Journal Title

The Journal of emergency medicine

Volume

29

Issue

4

First Page

417

Last Page

420

MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Adult; Carbon Monoxide Poisoning; Child; Electric Power Supplies; Female; Fossil Fuels; Health Education; Health Promotion; Hospitals, Pediatric; Humans; Ice; Inhalation Exposure; Male; Middle Aged; New York; Public Health; Retrospective Studies; Social Marketing; Weather

Keywords

CO2 poisoning; Ice storms

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