A Madison woman called the fire department Thursday, Feb. 11, after she became ill while using a wood-burning stove.
An article by the Wisconsin State Journal reported the North Side woman, who lives at a residence on Bonner Lane, feared carbon monoxide poison and wanted the fire department to check her home following the incident.
“She started the stove in the basement for the first time this winter,” said Madison Fire Department spokeswoman Cynthia Schuster. “She noticed the smoke wasn’t exiting through the flue very well, and was starting to come back into the house.”
The woman began to experience symptoms associated with carbon monoxide poisoning such as nausea and a headache. After she put the fire out, she drove herself to the hospital and called the fire department.
Firefighters investigated the incident, using air monitors to test the levels of carbon monoxide in the home, but didn’t detect elevated levels, according to Schuster.
“Because the fire was out for awhile and could have been the cause of her symptoms, the resident was advised not to use the stove until it could be inspected,” the article reads.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that causes thousands of deaths each year in North America. Breathing in carbon monoxide is very dangerous and is the leading cause of poisoning death in the United States.
Carbon monoxide poison can also lead to irreversible brain damage.
When you breathe in carbon monoxide, the poison replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream. Your heart, brain and body become starved of oxygen.
Carbon monoxide can be found in anything that burns gasoline, kerosene oil, wood or coal. Some possible culprits include automobile engines, propane heaters, water heaters that use natural gas, stoves and charcoal grills.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include (but are not limited to):
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Impaired judgment
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
- Rapid or abnormal heartbeat
- Nausea and vomiting
Read the full list of symptoms and other information here.
Animals can also be poisoned by carbon monoxide.
If you suspect a person or animal has breathed in carbon monoxide, immediately move him or her to fresh air and seek medical help.