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Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless and tasteless
poisonous gas produced by burning fuel such as gasoline, natural gas,
kerosene, charcoal, wood, paper, etc. Indoors, CO can come from a gas-fueled
furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, range, and space heater or from a fireplace or wood burning stove.
Portable generators sometimes used during a power outage also may
present a CO hazard. 
In its early stages, the symptoms of a CO exposure look a lot like the flu: headache, dizziness, upset stomach, tired or overall sick feeling. The symptoms usually depend on the concentration of CO and the length of time of exposure. 
At lower levels, symptoms can be just confusion or difficulty concentrating. 
Children can get sick from CO while the adults still feel fine.
 At higher concentrations, CO
inhalation causes impaired vision and coordination, headaches,
dizziness, confusion, nausea and death.
Anyone who suspects symptoms of CO poisoning should open doors and
windows, turn off gas appliances and go outside and call the poison center right away. In cases of severe CO poisonings, call 9-1-1 for emergency services.
Case # 1
A call was received about a mother that had given her 8 yr. old son his daily dose of CBD oil she was giving him for ADHD. The boy was "acting strange" and appeared drowsy. After answering some of the questions the specialist asked, the mom said it was the first dose from that particular bottle, but it was from the same brand she had used before. The specialist explained that since CBD products are considered natural supplements/herbals, they are not regulated by the FDA and may not be very consistent even from one bottle to another. The specialist explained that many of the CBD products, when tested, have actually shown to contain some THC, some at high levels. He recommended to observe the child for the next 6 hours to make sure he was not too drowsy and that we would follow up in a few hours. The child did fine and the mother said she was throwing away the product she was using.

Case #2 
A poison center specialist received a call from a father who called from his cell phone about their carbon monoxide (CO) detector going off and wanting to know what he should do. He explained that they were in a rental cabin and had just turned on the fireplace before the detector went off. The specialist recommended that they leave the cabin immediately and call the owner or manager to report the faulty fireplace. The specialist explained that since they had just been there a few minutes, fresh air was enough to clear out any CO that was inhaled but if they felt any symptoms, to report to the emergency room. During the follow up, the father explained that they were moved to another cabin and had tested the fireplace for CO before they moved in. He also informed the specialist that it was a faulty flu that caused the issue at the previous cabin. Everyone was doing fine and there were no symptoms reported.

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January 2019 Newsletter

The Scoop on 
Dietary Supplements

The New Year usually brings a host of new year resolutions. If you are like most people, then you're probably already making New Year's resolutions like losing weight, getting organized, spending less money and saving more, and living life to the fullest. When it comes to fitness and health, many people love the get-fit-quick products that promise results without all the "hard work." 
Supplementation is also often seen as necessity. It is important to note that they are meant to "supplement" a healthy diet, not "replace" it. Furthermore, because supplements aren't considered medications, they aren't put through the same strict safety and effectiveness requirements that medications are. All medications, even those you can buy without a prescription, must be proven safe and effective before they are put out on the market - dietary supplements however, do NOT. The Texas Poison Center Network would like to offer you the following information regarding supplements to help you make a healthy New Year's resolution.

What are dietary supplements?
  • Dietary supplements include products like vitamins, minerals, herbal products, amino acids, protein powders, enzymes and many others. Dietary supplements are marketed in forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, powders, plants/leaves, tea bags, and liquids.

What are the benefits of dietary supplements?
  • Some supplements are designed to help you get some of the vital substances the body needs to function; others claim to help reduce the risk of some diseases. But supplements are not meant to replace complete meals which are necessary for a healthful diet or to replace treatment of known medical conditions.
  • Unlike medications, supplements are not permitted to be marketed for the purpose of treating, diagnosing, preventing, or curing diseases. That means supplements should not make disease claims, such as "lowers high cholesterol" or "treats heart disease." Claims like these cannot be legitimately made for dietary supplements.
Are there any risks in taking supplements?

  • Yes. Many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong biological effects in the body. This could make them unsafe in some situations and hurt or complicate your health. For example, the following actions could lead to harmful - even life-threatening - consequences.
  • The manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements are responsible for making sure their products are safe BEFORE they go to market.
  • A more serious trend today is extra ingredients in supplements. Some "herbal" supplements have been found to contain prescription drugs or other compounds that are not listed on their labels. 

What is the difference between the regulation of medicaitons and supplements? 
  • All prescription and non-prescription medications are regulated in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since supplements are not considered medications, the manufacturers of these supplements do not have to adhere to these same regulations. 
  • In 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) defined dietary supplements as a category of food, which puts them under different regulations than medications. They are considered safe until proven otherwise.
  • The FDA approval process requires that the medications be proven safe and effective by a series of clinical trials. These trials must show "substantial evidence" that the medication is both safe and effective for each of its intended uses.
  • The FDA does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed.
  • How can I be sure I am buying safe products?    
    • When searching for supplements on the internet, use noncommercial sites (e.g. NIH, FDA, USDA) rather than the information that comes from the seller or manufacturer.
    • If claims sound too good to be true, they probably are. Be mindful of product claims such as "works better than [a prescription drug]," "totally safe," or has "no side effects" as these claims usually can't be substantiated.
    • Be aware that the term "natural" doesn't always means "safe."
    • Ask your healthcare provider if the supplement you're considering would be safe and beneficial for you and will not interact with any of the medications you are already taking.


 Remember-keep all supplements out of the sight and reach of children.
Overdose? Side effects? Questions? 
Free, confidential, expert medical advice, 24/7/365


Want more poison information???
Don't forget to check out the Texas Poison Center Network's blog !