Carbon monoxide: Is odorless, poisonous gas in your home?

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What you don't know can, in fact, hurt you. Is there a carbon monoxide leak in your home? This colorless,...

What you don't know can, in fact, hurt you. Is there a carbon monoxide leak in your home? This colorless, odorless gas can make you feel like you have the flu and cause severe illness - even death.

Signs of poisoning

Both pets and humans can be affected by this toxic gas, according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. One of the first symptoms might be the illness of several pets at the same time. Next, people with a weak immune system, respiratory problems or anemia may fall ill.

Symptoms include headache, dizziness, vomiting and nausea. Chest pain, confusion and unconsciousness may soon follow. Some people report a stinging sensation in their eyes when near a large source of the toxic gas. If you suspect a strange illness, remove all people and pets from the home and go to the nearest emergency room for a thorough examination.

How to prevent poisoning

Install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home. These small battery-operated units work much like a smoke detector and are readily available at home improvement stores. Change the batteries in the units once a year and test the units once a month.

Gas-burning appliances such as a stove, fireplace, water heater, grill or furnace emit the gas as a byproduct. If not vented properly, the gas can accumulate in the home. All gas-powered appliances should be checked annually for proper performance and ventilation. Call a heating and cooling specialist in the Atlanta-area to inspect your home for carbon monoxide leaks.

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