Time for Kids: Protecting your family against carbon monoxide poisoning this winter

MADISON, Wis. — While we have been fortunate to avoid power outages when overnight temperatures dip below zero so far this winter, temperatures are expected to hit that mark again this week.

If families were to lose power, supplemental ways to heat homes could lead to carbon monoxide dangers. While it’s tempting to supplement the furnace or replace it altogether, things like space heaters or using the oven can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

SSM Health executive Dr. David Ottenbaker says carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms could become very serious.

“The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be very subtle at first,” says Dr. Ottenbaker, “But headaches, nausea, not feeling good, light headed, and then ultimately can progress into vomiting, really severe illness, and ultimately death. So you want to be careful of that. If all of a sudden a couple of family members have unexplained headaches, they just don’t feel right, something should be on your radar at least that that could possibly be a factor.”

To help prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, Dr. Ottenbaker suggests being proactive with regular furnace inspections and servicing, and making sure fireplaces are properly maintained and cleaned every year.

He also suggests installing carbon monoxide detectors near all bedrooms in the home.

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