The changing weather prompted the Washington Poison Center to issue a seasonal health alert on carbon monoxide.
As temperatures drop, people begin to turn on furnaces and household heaters. Those heat sources, however, come with a risk for carbon monoxide exposures, the poison center warns. In 2014, the poison center received 344 calls about carbon monoxide poisonings.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, orderless gas that, when one is exposed, may cause symptoms similar to those of a cold of flu: headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness and confusion.
The poison control center recommends placing working carbon monoxide detectors outside of every sleeping area in the home and having heating systems and fireplaces professionally inspected each year.
Those who believe they’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide should remove themselves from the building. If someone is unconscious and cannot leave, call 911 and open windows and doors, the center advises.