Wednesday, December 13, 2023 12:36AM
When planning vacations, travelers think about how to keep their items safe and how to make sure they have cellphone coverage. But few consider a hidden danger that has resulted in two deaths and 36 injuries in U.S. hotels this past year alone.
Experts tell us about an easy way to protect you and your loved ones while traveling.
In the past 20 years, more than a thousand injuries from carbon monoxide leaks in U.S. hotels have been reported. The Jenkins Foundation tracks carbon monoxide incidents at popular places travelers stay.
While smoke alarms are normally required in every hotel room by law, there is no such law for carbon monoxide detectors, nor are they required by Airbnb, which has seen 10 carbon monoxide deaths in Chile and Mexico in the past five years.
“Carbon monoxide can go through drywall very easily,” said Dr. Lindell Weaver who specializes in treating carbon monoxide poisoning at Intermountain Health.
The most common causes of hotel leaks are boilers and heaters used to warm swimming pools and water. What makes the gas so dangerous is that it’s odorless and colorless.
“It can move through crevices and little holes. So, indeed, people often have been poisoned, sometimes quite a distance, remote from the poisoning or carbon monoxide source,” Weaver said.
He encourages travelers to buy a portable carbon monoxide alarm. They cost anywhere from $30 to $100. The devices are small, and they don’t take up much room in your luggage. Packing at least one will protect you and your loved ones from the dangers of this deadly gas.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic other illnesses. Oftentimes, travelers will write off the symptoms as travel-induced stress or food poisoning. Doctors say it’s crucial to seek medical treatment as soon as you start feeling sick.
MORE: Carbon monoxide killed 3 tourists at Bahamas resort, police say
Michael Phillips, 68, Robbie Phillips, 65, and Vincent Chiarella, 64, died after falling ill at a Bahamas Sandals resort.
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