The statistics are alarming, heart-breaking and avoidable. Each year 400 people in the United States die from “non-fire related” carbon monoxide poisoning; and 20,000 emergency room visits are due to inhalation of carbon monoxide. Almost every single one of them, is preventable.

Carbon Monoxide is odorless, colorless and can become an issue in your home when autumn sets in. Once the cold starts creeping, we shut the windows, place draft guards at the doorways and spark up the furnace. Shutting the house up tight may save on heating bills, but the downside is that it creates a seal that prevents the house from breathing and gases to get trapped.  Any element in your house that “burns fuel” releases carbon monoxide. It exists around you every day in small quantities. It is once it is trapped and builds that it makes you ill.

So how do we prevent ourselves from becoming a statistic?

First know the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

As carbon monoxide builds up in your blood symptoms get worse and may include:

What devices inside my home release Carbon Monoxide?

Answer: Anything that burns fuel. Furnaces, stoves, lanterns, fireplaces, gas ranges, lawnmowers, automobiles, outdoor grills and generators. Each releases a toxic gas that in small amounts is not lethal, but in large doses is fatal.

How do I keep the Carbon Monoxide from poisoning my family?

1, Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to alarming. Replace your CO detector every five years.

2. Have your home heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.

3. Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open. Use generators outside only, far away from the home.

4. Check the exhaust system of your car regularly and keep it in good condition. Do not run the car or other gasoline-powered engines (such as generators during power outages)  in a garage, even with the doors open.

5. Crack car windows when driving.

6. Use proper fuel in space heaters.

7. Use space heaters in well-ventilated areas.

8. Don't use a gas kitchen oven to heat your home. Keep gas appliances properly adjusted and serviced.

9. Don't burn charcoal or use a grill indoors.

10. Deadly levels of CO can quickly build up in enclosed areas  and can linger for hours, even after the generator or engine  has shut off.

11.  Always Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.

A few simple protective steps can help you and your family from becoming a carbon monoxide statistic.For some additional websites that will give you additional thoughts on carbon monoxide click below:

Tips from the  Mayo Clinic click: HERE

From "Healthline" click: HERE

Have a safe and healthy winter.