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Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Hazard in Your Home
USAgNet - 11/13/2017

The arrival of colder weather means more homes will be turning up the heat with fuel-burning appliances. These appliances include furnaces, ovens, space heaters, generators, indoor grills, and fireplaces that can unknowingly cause dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in the home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 430 people die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States. In Kansas, from 2010 to 2014, there were annually an average of 148 emergency department visits, 23 hospitalizations, and 13 deaths due to unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.

"Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless," said Cherie Sage, Safe Kids Kansas. "The symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of common winter ailments, like the flu. Without a CO detector in your home, your family can be poisoned without even realizing it's happening." Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen suddenly or cause poisoning over a longer amount of time. Carbon Monoxide detectors cost approximately $20 and can be purchased at most hardware and retail stores.

"Carbon monoxide can cause sudden illness or even death," says Dr. Farah Ahmed, Environmental Health Officer with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). "Having a carbon monoxide detector with a battery backup near where people sleep saves lives."

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