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Health Check: Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning

'Tis the season when carbon monoxide poisoning becomes an increasing problem. (WJAR)

'Tis the season when carbon monoxide poisoning becomes an increasing problem.

"You can't see it. You can't smell it. You don't know you're being exposed to it," said Dr. Ranna Rozefeld, a pediatric critical care physician at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Rozefeld said carbon monoxide detectors are required in all residential homes in many states, including all of the New England states.

"You should have one on every floor in your home, including the basement and the attic,” said Rozenfeld.

And there are many sources, beyond your furnace and gas appliances.

"People run their cars in their garages. Before they go out, they want to warm the car up. That is very dangerous. You should always have your garage door open when you're running the car,” said Rozenfeld.

She added that you should also make sure snow and ice aren't blocking your exhaust.

Other sources include wood burning fireplaces and clogged chimneys.

But, what are the symptoms?

"It's very similar to flu-like symptoms. So, you get a headache, you get dizzy, you get tired," she said.

Yet, what separates these symptoms from the flu?

"It's very sudden onset and, unlike the flu, you don't have fever,” said Rozenfeld. “You don't have some of the other associated things that you get with the viral illnesses."

At first sign of the symptoms, it's best to act quickly.

"It's just really important to get to fresh air, to open windows, to get out of the home," Rozenfeld said.

Rozenfeld said children are more susceptible, so if your child complains of sudden flu like symptoms, it might be carbon monoxide poisoning.

Click here to learn more about the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

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