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College of Pharmacy

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Palmetto Poison Center Focuses on Summer Boating Safety

It’s summertime and as we prepare for a return to outdoor activities post-pandemic, the Palmetto Poison Center is ready to provide assistance to ensure your summer is a safe one.

June is National Safety Month, and one hazard in particular that is often forgotten is carbon monoxide poisoning. If you and your family are headed out for a boating adventure, be aware of the potential for this deadly gas. Sources of carbon monoxide (CO) on your boat may include engines, gas generators, space and water heaters, and the exhaust system, as well as exhaust from other vessels docked or anchored next to your boat and accumulation around swim platforms and decks.

Since you cannot see carbon monoxide gas, taste it, or smell it, it can kill quickly or slowly.

“Since you cannot see carbon monoxide gas, taste it, or smell it, it can kill quickly or slowly,” says Jill Michels, director of the Palmetto Poison Center. “Carbon monoxide can also cause permanent damage to the brain and other parts of your nervous system. People of all ages can be affected, but infants and children are the most vulnerable.”

Be aware of your surroundings and prevent carbon monoxide build-up while boating by knowing where the gas may accumulate.

“You should never sit on a back deck or swim platform while a boat engine is running or before the area has been properly ventilated after being turned off,” Michels says. “Use caution when anchoring several boats together. For boats with cabins, you should install a CO alarm inside the boat.”

Symptoms of CO poisoning may include fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache, irregular breathing, confusion or disorientation.

The Palmetto Poison Center is staffed by pharmacists and nurses provide expertise and advice for statewide poison-related emergencies. Palmetto Poison Center is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

To contact the Palmetto Poison Center, call 1-800-222-1222. Learn more at poison and follow @PalmettoPoisonCenter on Facebook.


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