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Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases during the winter, when more people use furnaces, space heaters and fireplaces.

Each year, more than 200 Americans die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, poisonous gas that can cause illness or death and is produced by burning natural gas, oil, kerosene, coal and wood.

Fuel-burning appliances that are not working properly or are installed incorrectly can produce fatal concentrations of carbon monoxide in a home. Other hazards include running a car in the garage, which can lead to dangerous levels of CO in the home.

Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu, such as headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness or shortness of breath, but do not include a fever.

If you or someone else has been exposed to CO, get fresh air immediately and contact a physician. Open windows and doors, turn off combustion appliances such as stoves or heaters, and contact emergency services.

Here are some ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning in your home:

  • Install a CO alarm near bedrooms and on each floor of your home.
  • Make sure fuel-burning equipment, such as a stove or heater, are properly installed and in good working order.
  • Never use charcoal or other grills indoors or in the garage.
  • Do not leave your car's engine running while it is in the garage.
  • Put weather stripping around the door between the garage and the house.


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