Health Buzz: How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Our titanic obesity problem; how to have a fit and healthy pregnancy


Experiment: Carbon Monoxide Can Pass Through Walls

Each year, about 500 people in the United States die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and it's believed that many of these deaths could have been prevented with carbon monoxide alarms and public education. A research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association describes an experiment that tests whether carbon monoxide can pass through walls. In the experiment, researchers found that the gas "diffused across single-layer gypsum wallboard of two thicknesses, double-layer wallboard and painted double-layer wallboard." In the JAMA letter, the researchers point out that 10 of the 25 states that require household carbon monoxide alarms make exceptions for homes without fuel-burning appliances or attached garages. These new findings suggest that even if the inside of your own home is not in danger, it's possible that the lethal gas could seep in from the home of a wall-sharing neighbor.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from your home appliances, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests you install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector. Already have one? Make sure the batteries are still charged, and make a habit of replacing them each spring and fall. Here are more tips from the CDC. It's also helpful to recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which, at moderate levels, include severe headaches, dizziness, nausea and more. If you have these symptoms and suspect they're due to carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately seek fresh air, leave the house and head to the emergency room. For more tips from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, see their PDF guide: Protect Your Family and Yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

Our Titanic Obesity Problem

The annual "F as in Fat" report, issued jointly by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is hot off the presses for 2013. The punch line is this seemingly welcome news: Obesity rates in the United States, overall, have leveled off. We'll get back to that, but let's establish some relevant context first, writes U.S. News blogger David Katz.

In 2008, Shiriki Kumanyika and colleagues at Johns Hopkins published a paper in Obesity projecting that, should prevailing trends persist, by or about the middle of this century, every adult in the United States – but for a possible rounding error – would be overweight or obese. The analytical modeling was robust, the team of investigators highly accomplished and the effort both thoughtful and diligent. But even so, the projection was almost certainly wrong.

It was wrong for the same reasons that someone analyzing the sinking of the Titanic would have been wrong to project that eventually everyone would be soaked, if not drowned. [Read more: Our Titanic Obesity Problem]

How to Have a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy

Whoever told you being fit and healthy while you're pregnant is impossible lied to you, writes U.S. News blogger Jolynn Toma. As I near the 37-week mark, some people have commented that it's easy for me to work out and eat healthy because it's my job.

They couldn't be more wrong. Sure it may be a smidge easier than someone who doesn't work out or eat healthy on a regular basis, but I've definitely had my ups and downs.

Being pregnant has been a learning experience unlike any other – mentally, physically and emotionally. For the first 16 weeks, saltines and Sierra Mist were my best friends. [Read more: How to Have a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy]

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