About Englewood Hospital and Medical Center


2010 Press Releases

DECEMBER 15, 2010

Contact: Kathleen Mathieu, 201-939-1844 (office), 201-694-0384 (cell) or kmathieu@trwg.com

For Immediate Release

It’s Time to Protect Against an Invisible Killer


Kenneth Capek, MPA, RRT, CHT, administrative director of the Center of Hyperbaric Medicine at Englewood Hospital, with a patient undergoing oxygen therapy in one of the hyperbaric chambers at Englewood Hospital. Oxygen can be an enormously beneficial medication in certain circumstances, including carbon monoxide poisoning.

Faulty heating systems, power blackouts and the use of cheaper but dangerous heating methods during difficult economic times make fall and winter the prime time for deaths caused by carbon monoxide, often called the “invisible killer.”

Accidental carbon monoxide exposure accounts for an estimated 15,000 emergency department visits and 500 unintentional deaths in the United States each year. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless toxic gas produced by incomplete combustion of fuel. It is easy to overlook the symptoms of CO poisoning, and prolonged exposure can be fatal.
At low levels, symptoms are very deceptive, because they can resemble the flu, food poisoning or other illnesses. Even healthcare professionals might not immediately suspect CO poisoning. Low to moderate levels of exposure can trigger headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. Victims can become mentally confused or even faint.
Education and prevention are the best ways to stop the “invisible killer.”

Know the symptoms of CO poisoning and never ignore them, especially if others are experiencing them too. You could die if you don’t act.

Have your fuel-burning appliances (including oil and gas furnaces, gas water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, gas dryers, gas or kerosene space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves) inspected yearly. Make sure they are properly vented.

Never idle the car in a garage, even if the garage door is open. Fumes can accumulate quickly.

Never use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time, or sleep in a room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.

Never use a charcoal grill or a gas-powered engine (such as a chainsaw) in an enclosed space.

Contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772 or cpsc.gov for more information on how to reduce your risks from CO.

Always use a CO detector in your house to protect you and your family, and use it correctly. Remember, CO detectors only last about 5 years.

Act quickly if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.

Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows.

Call your gas company if you smell gas or suspect a leak.

Get to the hospital for emergency care ASAP and say that you suspect CO poisoning. If you call an ambulance, make sure the ambulance crew knows you have symptoms of CO poisoning.

You may require treatment in a hyperbaric chamber to flush the CO out of your system. Englewood Hospital is the only hospital in Bergen County with hyperbaric chambers. In addition, the two chambers are the only ones in northern New Jersey available for emergencies around-the-clock, seven days a week.

Protect you and you family against the invisible killer.

You can take action to prevent you and your family from being victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. Act today.

Be sure the heating system in your home is up to par.

If you’re a tenant, make sure the landlord is taking proper precautions to prevent CO poisoning.

Educate yourself and your family in advance about the do’s and don’ts of alternate power sources during a power failure.

Install a carbon monoxide detector and use it only for the lifespan recommended by the manufacturer.


About Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
Englewood Hospital and Medical Center provides patients with the highest level of compassionate care through a broad range of state-of-the-art clinical programs and the most advanced treatments and diagnostic services. It is renowned for its bloodless medicine and surgery program, cardiac and vascular programs and its leadership in breast care, oncology and joint replacement services. Through its affiliation with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Mount Sinai Consortium for Graduate Medical Education, this thriving, acute-care and community teaching hospital trains medical residents in a variety of disciplines, including internal medicine, critical care medicine, surgery, pediatrics, podiatry, and pathology.  Englewood Hospital is home to a Vascular Fellowship Program that has trained a generation of world-class vascular surgeons.  Additionally, many members of the medical staff at Englewood Hospital serve as faculty members at Mount Sinai. Englewood Hospital has earned numerous accreditations from the Joint Commission and other organizations and is among the six percent of hospitals nationwide honored with the prestigious Magnet nursing award, a distinction that has been earned twice by its nursing staff.