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Medical experts warn about carbon monoxide poisoning during cold weather months

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OMAHA, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - When it's cold and dreary outside, you might be cranking up the heat inside your home, but before firing up that furnace poison control experts say you shouldn't take anything for granted.

"I didn't know you should check the furnace," said one homeowner, who was surprised by what a recent inspection uncovered at her place. "The carbon monoxide levels that my furnace was giving off was through the roof. It's normally never that high."

She said it was a good thing somebody took a closer look.

"We could have all been dead."

Statistics from Nebraska's Regional Poison Center show 113 people were exposed to the gas between January and October of this year. Some of those were reported during the cold weather season. With the unavoidable winter weather coming soon, medical experts like Dr. Ron Kirschner say if you don't have a working carbon monoxide alarm you should get one now.

"It's inexpensive, it could save your life and it could save the life of your kids," said Dr. Kirschner.

If you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, Dr. Kirschner recommends you take a close look at it right now because if it's older than five to seven years it might not be working properly.

"Eventually, they have to be replaced. The battery, of course, has to be replaced, but the unit itself has a limited life."

Since carbon monoxide doesn't have a color or an odor, Dr. Kirschner says you can't be too careful.

"It's good to have something there all the time. That's always the best thing."

It's not just furnaces that could cause a carbon monoxide issue inside your home. Experts say you'll want to check on your fireplace also because a broken or damaged flue can also cause problems.

If you have concerns about carbon monoxide and would like to reach out to the Nebraska Regional Poison Center, click here for more information: http://www.nebraskapoison.com/

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