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Health Indicator Report of Carbon Monoxide: Hospitalizations and Emergency Department (ED) Visits

Hospitalization and emergency department (ED) visits for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is almost entirely preventable if proper measures are taken such as always having a working carbon monoxide detector in your home or work. CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars, trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, gas ranges, and heating systems. Whenever there is a flame or combustion, some deadly carbon monoxide gas can be produced. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces causing people and animals in these spaces to be poisoned by breathing it. CO poisoning is especially a concern after emergency situations such as power outages or natural disasters because of certain equipment people use that gives off CO. Generators, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline equipment, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices should never be used inside a home, basement, garage, camper, or even outside near an open window. CO poisoning can also occur outdoors in fresh air and has been reported while boating. In this case, CO poisoning is attributed mostly to generator exhaust that builds up inside and outside a boat in areas near exhaust vents. Dangerous concentrations of CO can accumulate within seconds; therefore, schedule regular engine and exhaust system maintenance with your boat and install and test daily a battery operated CO detector. CO poisoning is almost entirely preventable. To protect yourself from CO poisoning, use equipment that emits CO responsibly and use a properly working carbon monoxide detector in your home. These can be purchased at most grocery and home improvement stores for relatively low cost.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Hospitalizations and ED Visits by Age, Utah 1995-2006

Notes

These records use the same data sets that are used for the hospital discharge and emergency department records queries, except the date of admission is used here (instead of the date of discharge). Therefore, small number differences are possible.

Data Sources

  • Emergency Department Encounter Database, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, Utah Department of Health
  • Population Estimates: Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget
  • Utah Inpatient Hospital Discharge Data, Office of Health Care Statistics, Utah Department of Health

Data Interpretation Issues

Hospitalization and emergency department (ED) data may underestimate carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning prevalence because these data may not include those that call poison control centers and are managed at the scene, those who do not seek any medical care, or those who die immediately from CO exposure without medical care. Also, the toxic effects of CO exposure are nonspecific and easily misdiagnosed when CO exposure is not suspected. Misdiagnosed cases are not counted. Finally, due to different surveillance practices, data may not be fully comparable between states or jurisdictions.

Definition

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled.

Numerator

Number of hospitalizations or emergency department visits for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Denominator

Midyear resident population estimates.

What Is Being Done?

There are organizations that provide free information about carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and prevention such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also, health promotion and outreach activities often take place to educate the public about CO poisoning and prevention. However, it is primarily up to the individual to practice behaviors to prevent CO poisoning such as installing working CO detectors and using equipment properly that emits CO gas.

Available Services

Utah Poison Control Center The Utah Poison Control Center (UPCC) is a 24-hour resource for poison information, clinical toxicology consultation and poison prevention education. This free and confidential service is available 365 days a year. For poison emergencies, questions, and prevention information, call 1-800-222-1222.
Page Content Updated On 10/06/2014, Published on 01/22/2015
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site (http://ibis.health.state.gov). The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Fri, 28 August 2015 11:07:32 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: http://ibis.health.state.gov ".

Content updated: Fri, 6 Feb 2015 11:52:48 MST