State officials say just two deaths have been linked to the storm that blazed through the state this weekend. A Wisconsin man working on a utility crew fell 80 feet to his death in Cedar Rapids and someone in Wapello County died when the oxygen supply in their home was disrupted by the power outage.
Tom Newton of the Iowa Department of Public Health says some Iowa hospitals have reported treating Iowans overcome by carbon monoxide from an electric generator. "There are situations in which they’ve had people show up at hospitals with carbon monoxide poisoning," Nelson says. One of the first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning is a headache.
"You’re also going to have people that feel nauseous," Nelson says. "As you know, carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless so when you walk into a room you are not going to know that there’s carbon monoxide in there, but if you start to feel lightheaded, you start to get a headache, you feel nauseous, that’s probably a pretty good indication there’s some carbon monoxide in that room."
If you’re using a generator, it should not be in the garage or just outside a door of your home. "A generator is notorious for producing massive amounts of carbon monoxide, so we want to make sure that people are putting that outside of their house and making sure that exhaust is not entering the building in any way, shape or form," Nelson says. According to state officials, it was erroneously reported earlier this week that someone in the Grinnell area had died from carbon monoxide poisoning.