Telemundo News Edition
Texas hospitals have reported hundreds of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in recent days, as the low temperatures and power outages that have affected millions of people in that state have led many to seek unconventional and dangerous sources to keep warm in their homes.
In Harris County, the most populous in Texas, authorities have reported at least 300 cases of poisoning. A Houston woman and girl also lost their lives Tuesday after the family left the car running in the garage to ward off the cold due to power failure.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has said that the hundreds of intoxicated Texans in that county are just “the tip of the iceberg“and that the total number in the state is probably much higher.
“The truth of the matter is that this carbon monoxide poisoning is in many ways a disaster within a disaster,” Hidalgo said through a statement from the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Until this Thursday, almost half a million people were still without electricity and other tens of thousands also suffered from access to basic resources such as drinking water, due to the severe winter storm that has affected Texas and much of the United States since the beginning of the week.
In videos circulating on social media, Texans have been seen to be inventive and burn everything from old furniture to their children’s wooden toys to fuel bonfires and get warmth.
State and local officials attribute the majority of poisonings to the use of unsuitable heating sources that are not made for indoor usesuch as barbecue grills, portable generators, or car engines.
All of these devices release carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that, at certain levels, can cause permanent brain damage and even death, within minutes. Due to its characteristics, it is difficult to detect exposure to this gas, although sometimes It can produce flu-like symptoms such as headache, dizziness, or weakness.