Irma’s dangers persist as deaths reported from carbon monoxide
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.”