As temperatures plummet across the northern half of the United States , gas heating use goes up, and so does the risk for accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. As a result, more than 20,000 Americans seek emergency care each year for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than 400 die.

To prevent carbon monoxide incidents, follow some of the general rules:

  • Install carbon monoxide alarms on every floor of your home.
  • Inspect all fuel-burning equipment every year. Make sure that all gas heaters are properly vented to the outside. Gas generators should be placed at a good distance from the home, not near a window, door or vent.
  • Don’t use a gas range or oven to warm up your home.
  • Don’t use a gas or charcoal grill indoors.
  • Never leave your vehicle running while parked in a garage attached to your home.
  • Have your vehicle’s muffler and tailpipes checked on a regular basis.

Though carbon monoxide is a quiet killer, signs of actual poisoning are very noticeable. They include sleepiness, headachedizzinessblurred visionvomitingshortness of breath and convulsions.

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