New Yorkers are still reeling from the death of New York City Police Department Officer Dennis Guerra and fellow NYPD Officer Rosa Rodriguez fighting for her life as a result of smoke inhalation in a recent Coney Island fire. This incident has become a sobering reminder that smoke inhalation can have grave effects on a person’s body.
Salvatore Pardo, MD, vice chairman of the emergency department at LIJ Medical Center in New Hyde Park, explained the dire effects caused by prolonged exposure to the carbon monoxide that comes from a fire.
“When you’re in a fire, there’s a lot of carbon monoxide so you can get overtaken very quickly,” he said. “And what happens is you become sleepy and you pass out.”
If a carbon monoxide leak is more gradual, a person may experience a headache first, Dr. Pardo noted. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, so a person can be overcome with it in as soon as minutes in the case of a house fire, Dr. Pardo said.
For those who find themselves in a fire, Dr. Pardo said to stay low to the ground since carbon monoxide tends to rise and get out quickly. He said it was important to seek immediate medical attention because carbon monoxide can linger in your body.