As the temperature drops, people rev up their furnaces, fireplaces and heaters to stay warm. But many people don’t realize that they’re increasing their risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Each year, more than 15,000 Americans suffer from exposure to CO, a colorless, odorless gas. Protect your family with these precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
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- Have your heating system, water heater and other gas, oil or coal-burning appliances serviced yearly by a qualified technician.
- Have flues and chimneys inspected for leaks and blockages each year.
- Open your fireplace damper before lighting a fire; keep it open until ashes are cool.
- Install battery-operated CO alarms in and near bedrooms.
- Check batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
- If a CO alarm sounds, leave your home immediately and call the local police, fire department or utility company for assistance.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and feel dizzy, light-headed or nauseous.