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Fire, medical officials warn of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Officials with both the Jefferson City Fire Department and MU Health are warning residents of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning after two died in Callaway County due to poisoning.

Dr. Christopher Sampson an Emergency Medicine Doctor with MU Health Care said while most carbon monoxide incidents happen in the winter when residents are using heaters and other alternative sources to heat their homes, it's still important to be aware.

The doctor said some of the symptoms to look out for are headache, dizziness, confusion and being unable to wake someone up.

"One of the big dangers with carbon monoxide is odorless so you can't see it and you can't smell it". Dr. Sampson said. "Often a key point may be if more than one person in the house is having symptoms, so if everyone in the house for some reason has a headache or isn't feeling well sometimes it can be sick to your stomach, that's really a sign that there may be a problem and you have a carbon monoxide leak in your home."

Jerry Blomberg, Division Chief of Training with the Jefferson City Fire Department said the best way to prevent this is to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Blomberg added it's also a good idea to never use a gas device not intended to be used indoors, inside.

Dr. Sampson also said one of the biggest causes is due to people starting their cars in their garage.

The emergency doctor said even if you aren't in your garage, the carbon monoxide may seep through the door and into your home.

According to the CDC, more than 400 Americans die each year due to carbon poisoning, with over 20,000 visiting emergency rooms and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

Blomberg said his crew sees the biggest uptick in calls when residents first start using their heating devices, for the colder seasons.

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Ben Fein

Ben Fein is a multimedia journalist for ABC 17 News. You can usually see his reports on weekend mornings or weekdays at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. on KMIZ.

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