Irma’s dan­gers per­sist as deaths re­ported from car­bon monox­ide

The Globe and Mail (Alberta Edition) - - NEWS - JENNIFER KAY TIM REYNOLDS MIAMI

Florida’s post-Irma re­cov­ery picked up mo­men­tum Friday as power out­ages dropped and schools made plans to re­open. But two new cases of car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing from tem­po­rary gen­er­a­tors made clear that dan­gers re­mained nearly a week af­ter the pow­er­ful storm hit.

North Carolina re­ported its first Irma-re­lated death on Friday af­ter a man died from car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing, and two more peo­ple died in Florida from the dan­ger­ous fumes, in­clud­ing a woman in Palm Beach County.

A fam­ily of four was also be­ing treated Friday near Miami for ex­po­sure to the dan­ger­ous fumes from a gen­er­a­tor out­side of their apart­ment.

The state has also made ur­gent ef­forts to pro­tect its vul­ner­a­ble el­derly res­i­dents af­ter a string of home deaths at a nurs­ing home. Sev­eral other nurs­ing homes have been evac­u­ated be­cause of a lack of power or air con­di­tion­ing, while util­ity work­ers raced to help fa­cil­i­ties still with­out elec­tric­ity. Home­bound se­niors found help from char­i­ties, churches and au­thor­i­ties.

Older peo­ple can be more sus­cep­ti­ble to heat be­cause their bod­ies do not ad­just to tem­per­a­tures as well as young peo­ple. They don’t sweat as much, they are more likely to have med­i­cal con­di­tions that change how the body re­sponds to heat, and they are more likely to take med­i­ca­tion that af­fects body tem­per­a­ture.

“They’re more sus­cep­ti­ble to the heat,” said Broward County Com­mis­sioner Nan Rich. “The thing that hits them first is de­hy­dra­tion and then their tem­per­a­ture in­creases and then res­pi­ra­tory is­sues kick in. Then there’s med­i­ca­tion that needs to be re­frig­er­ated.”

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