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Pensando en ustedes

Silvia Leavitt

Hace diez dias atras, estaba sentada en el sofa firmando papeles para mis ninas cuando de pronto me sent muy canasada, no podia mantener mis ojos abiertos. Pense que esto era muy raro, porque eran solamente las 7:30 de la tarde y usualmente voy a la cama mucho mas tarde. Mis ninos se habian ido media hora mas temprano a deslizarse en llantas a Soldier Hollow con un grupo de la iglesia y pense tomar una sista porque estaba tan cansada a tal punto de estar mareada y cada movimiento me tomo mucha energia.

En ese momento pense que tenia de falta de fuerzas por haber tenido la gripe. Fue al proximo dia a las 11 de noche cuando descubri que nuestra calefacion habia dejado de funcionar. Hacia frio pero en ese momento no sabia que era una bendicion el no tener la calefaccion. Tambi en encontre la ventana en la cocina abierta mas temprano ese dia, eso fue extrano! Le pregunte a cada uno de mis cuatro ninos si ellos habian abierto la ventana y me dijeron que no! Era tan tarde que decidi esperar hasta el proximo dia despues del trabajo para conseguir ayuda profesional.

Todos conseguieron sus pijamas mas calentitos y algunas frazadas extras y nos fuimos a la cama. El viernes despues del trabajo un senor de Questar gas vino y al entrar a la casa me dijo, "Mantenga sus ventanas y puertas abiertas porque todav a tiene mon xido de carbono." El reviso la calefaccion y me mostro donde el cano que va a la chimenea estaba totalmente fuera de lugar, tirando CO en nuestro sotano. Me dio miedo al ver ese cano tan grande colgando fuera de lugar, entonces supe que como me senti dos dias atras, no fue la gripe o cansancio sino envenenamiento con monoxido de carbono. Cuando tres profesionales siguen diciendote que tenemos mucha suerte de estar vivos y que no entienden como nos salvamos es cuando sigo dando mas gracias por una casa vieja llena de perdidas de aire, por la calefaccion que dejo de trabajar y poner CO en la casa, por algunos angeles que abrieron la ventana y vecinos tan lindos que nos trajeron calentadores electricos para que no tengamos fr io.

La historia no se termina ahi pero for ahora voy a parar. Llegue del trabajo el Jueves 12 de Enero a unos 70 grados; era muy caliente para nosotros! Quizas algun dia les cuento el resto de la historia.

Tenemos la tendencia de pensar que estas cosas le pasan a otros, no a nosotros! La verdad es que a veces tenemos nuestro turno con estas situaciones peligrosas.

La semana pasada fuimos testigos de la tragedia que les paso a los mineros que murieron, en parte por envenenamiento de CO. Las semana anterior, supe de una familia que perdio un nino de quatro anos a causa de este asesino silencioso. En Los Estados Unidos, una persona muere cada dia de envenenamiento accidental de CO y mas de 5,000 sufren debido a esto, a veces familias enteras pierden sus vidas.

CO es un gas, sin color, olor y sabor que es producido por la combustion. Cuando entra en los pulmones, se pega a la hemoglobina en los globulos rojos y no se despega previniendo que el oxigeno sea acoplado a la hemoglobina para ser distribuido al cuerpo. Una vez que su sangre tiene CO, toma muchas horas para deshacerse del CO, aun si haya salido del ambiente contaminado.

Algunas de las cosas que produce CO son calefaciones (calentones), calefactor a gas para el agua, estufas o chimeneas y salamdras, automoviles, parrillas de carbon y pequenos motores que funcionan a gas.

Los sintomas de contaminacion son dolores de cabeza leves, fatiga, nausea, mareos, dolores severos de cabeza, convulsions y posiblemente muerte. Muchas horas de exposicion a niveles bajos de CO pueden ser tan fatal como un tiempo corto expuesto a n veles muy altos.

Usted puede prevenir que esto pase si tienen una persona calificada que le revise su calefacion y maquinas operadas a gas y asegurese que las chimeneas estan haciendo funcionando bien para las calefacciones nuevas y de alta eficiencia de hoy en dia. No use su cocina o estufa a gas para calefacion. Examine sus chimeneas y escapes regularmente para ver si estan en su lugar, propiamente conectadas y no bloqueadas. No use motores a gas adentro de su casa. Nunca haga andar su carro para que se caliente en un garaje pegado a su casa. Aun si la puerta del garaje este abierta, una cantidad peligrosa de monoxido de carbono puede entrar a la casa. Asegurese que el sistema de escape de su carro este funcionando bien. No use parrillas de carbon adentro del hogar y tenga detectores de CO en su casa y vehiculos de recreaci n.

Espero que tenga su calefaccion y chimeneas revisadas cada ano, esto puede salvarle la vida! Estoy al 513-0900 o al sleavitt.

Carbon monoxide (CO) Poisoning

Ten days ago, I was sitting on the couch signing some papers for my girls, when, suddenly, I felt so tired that I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I thought, "this is really odd, it’s only 7:30 p.m. and I usually go to bed much later." My children had left half an hour earlier to go tubing at Soldier Hollow with a group from church and I thought I’d just have a nap because I was tired to the point of being dizzy and each movement took a lot of energy.

At that time I thought I just had post-flu lack of energy. It was the next day at 11 p.m. that I found that our heater had stopped; it was cold but at that time I didn’t know it was a blessing not to have the heater working. I had also found the window in the kitchen open earlier that day, which was strange! I asked each of my four children if they had opened the window and they told me no! It was late so I decided to wait until the following day to get some professional help after work.

Everybody got their warmest pajamas and some extra blankets and we went to bed. On Friday after work, a gentleman from Questar came over and entering the house, told me, "Keep your windows and doors open you still have carbon monoxide." He checked the heater and showed me where the pipe going into the chimney was totally out of place and dumping CO into our basement. It was so scary to see such a big pipe hanging out of the chimney. That’s when I knew that how I felt two days ago was not the flu or tiredness. It was CO poisoning. Three different professionals kept telling me we were lucky to be alive and that they didn’t understand how we made it that is when I gave more thanks for a drafty old house, for the heater that stopped working and putting more CO into the house, for some angels that opened the window, and wonderful neighbors who brought heaters to keep us warm.

The story doesn’t end there but I’ll stop for now. I came home from work on Thursday, Jan. 12, to a balmy 70 degrees; it was too hot for us! Maybe someday I’ll tell you the rest of the story.

We tend to think that these things happen to others, not to us! The truth is sometimes we get our turn with these scary situations.

Last week we witnessed the tragedy of the miners that died, in part by CO poisoning. The week before, I watched a news story about a family that lost a four-year-old child due to this silent killer. In the United States, one person dies every day from unintentional CO poisoning and more than 5,000 are injured. Sometimes entire families lose their lives.

CO is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is produced in combustion. When it enters the lungs, it attaches to the hemoglobin in the red cells and won’t let go and it prevents oxygen from attaching to the hemoglobin and being distributed to the body. Once your blood has CO in it, it takes many hours to rid itself of the CO, even if you’re out of the poisoned atmosphere. Some of the things that can produce CO are furnaces, gas water heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves, automobiles, charcoal grills and any gas-powered engine.

Poisoning symptoms are mild headache, fatigue, nausea and dizziness, to severe headache, convulsions and possible death. Many hours of exposure to low levels of CO could be just as deadly as shorter exposures to high levels.

You can prevent this from happening if you have a qualified service person check your furnace and any gas operating appliances, and make sure your chimneys are doing the job for your new high-efficiency furnace. Don’t use your gas range for heating. Examine chimneys and vents regularly to see if they’re still in place, properly connected and not blocked. Don’t use gas-powered motors indoors. Never let your vehicle warm up in an attached garage. Even if the garage door is open, dangerous amounts of CO can enter the home. Make sure your car’s exhaust system is in good repair. Don’t use a charcoal grill indoors and have CO detectors in your home and in your recreational vehicle.

I hope you have your furnace and chimney checked every year — it could save your life! I’m at 513-0900 or at sleavitt


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