As temperatures drop and heating systems switch on, New York State Electric and Gas is reminding residents how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
The odorless carbon monoxide is produced by gas and oil furnaces, gas stoves and water heaters and automobile exhaust, and can accumulate in enclosed areas when these appliances are operating improperly or not vented properly.
Warning signs of poisoning include flu-like symptoms including headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness and confusion. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning, responsible for 400 deaths a year and for sending 20,000 people to the emergency room.
The utility recommends carbon monoxide detectors, heating system inspections and exhaust fans near gas stoves. Never use generators, charcoal grills, camp stoves or any other gas-burning appliance indoors or or other confined space. Also, never leave a car running in an attached garage, even if the garage door is open.