Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 12:34 PM MST
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(CNN) – Across the central and southern Plains, snowfall has blanketed states not used to seeing it.

But as record-setting low temperatures fall, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning soars as Americans struggle to stay warm.

On Tuesday, Houston Police tweeted a picture of four people affected by carbon monoxide poisoning. One woman and a child didn’t survive.

A second tweet said: “Initial indications are that the car was running in the attached garage to create heat as the power is out.”

Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. Breathing in a lot of it can cause a person to pass out or die.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the most common symptoms are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. The symptoms are often described as flu-like.

Those who start to feel any of the symptoms should get to fresh air immediately.

The CDC said more than 400 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisonings.

The agency said to avoid the risk, you should not:

  • Run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open
  • Burn anything in an unvented stove or fireplace
  • Heat your house with a gas oven
  • Use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement or garage

People should also make sure all generators are 20 feet or more from windows, doors and vents. Portable generators should never be used indoors.

The CDC also said it’s important to install a battery-operated or battery backup carbon monoxide detector in your home and to check or replace the battery often.

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