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How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning while staying warm

With record-breaking cold contributing to widespread blackouts in the Houston area, the CDC has advice on how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning while staying warm.

HOUSTON — As many in the Houston area try to stay warm amid record-breaking cold and large power outages, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advice on how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

> Video above from December: Know the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless gas that can be deadly to humans and animals.

More than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning every year, according to the CDC. In addition, more than 20,000 Americans visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized every year.

It is found in fumes that are produced when fuel is burned in cars or trucks, small engines or generators, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. 

Anyone who feels symptoms including dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, weakness, chest pain and confusion, and suspects it could be carbon monoxide poison, should immediately seek medical attention.

Carbon monoxide can sometimes kill sleeping people before symptoms show, the CDC warns.

RELATED: Tips to stay safe and warm inside when it's bitter cold outside

Below is a list of tips to avoid to Carbon Monoxide poisoning:

  • Do not run generators inside. Keep them outdoors and at least 20 feet away from the home.
  • Do not run a car inside a closed garage.
  • Do not use a gas oven to heat a home.
  • Do not burn anything in a stove or fireplace that is not vented.
  • Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.
  • Have heating systems, water heaters, and another other appliances that operate on gas, oil or coal serviced once a year.
Credit: KHOU