CDC urges vigilance in diagnosing CO poisoning after hurricane

Aug. 28, 2020

In the wake of Hurricane Laura, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert, reminding clinicians seeing patients from the areas affected by the hurricane maintain a high index of suspicion for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Other people who may have been exposed to the same CO source as a patient diagnosed with CO poisoning also may need to be identified and assessed, the CDC said.

The CDC said the signs and symptoms of CO exposure are variable and nonspecific. A tension-type headache is the most common symptom of mild CO poisoning. Other symptoms may include dizziness, flu-like symptoms (e.g., weakness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue) without a fever, drowsiness, chest pain, and altered mental status.

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