MUHC warns of snow-related risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.
As Montrealers dig out of this weekend's record-setting snowfall for Jan. 13, the McGill University Health Centre is warning that idling cars in winter could lead to unneeded injuries or deaths.
"After a large snowfall, the exhaust pipe can become blocked by snow, and idling can produce carbon monoxide poisoning inside the car -- leading to death," said MUHC spokeswoman Sandra Sciangula in a statement.
The MUHC statement also discourages cars from being left running inside a garage or enclosed area, even if the garage door is open.
Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless, and tasteless toxic gas that restricts the natural flow oxygen through the circulatory system; it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue in minor dosages. Severe poisoning can lead to fainting, convulsions, coma, and death.
Some people are more susceptible to the fumes, such as pregnant women and their unborn fetuses, as well as seniors and young children.
No carbon monoxide poisoning cases have been reported at the MUHC's Montreal Children's Hospital this season.
Last March, at least four Montrealers had to be rushed to hospitals following a large snow storm, after falling unconscious in cars partly buried in snow.
All reportedly came close to dying from carbon monoxide exposure.
During the same snowfall, two people in Quebec City were found dead in their cars of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.