Carbon monoxide poisoning numbers up

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MASON CITY, Iowa – Hundreds of people die unintentionally from carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States every year.

“It’s kind of one of those things to have in the house,” said Marty Walsh of Mason City.

Walsh went shopping at Kramer Hardware Friday, to get ready for the winter season. He said with the weather getting colder, he makes sure to have his carbon monoxide detectors working as we turn on our furnaces and space heaters.

“If you’re skeptical about it,” said Walsh. “Look into the affects of how bad it can be, it’s really a pretty scary situation on how quick it can happen.”

Carbon monoxide poisoning is known as the silent killer, being odorless and undetectable. It can cause symptoms like headaches, dizziness or nausea, that some may think is just a flu bug.

Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health healthy homes program coordinator Jenna Willems said in 2015, the emergency room visits in Cerro Gordo County related to carbon monoxide poisoning nearly doubled the state level in Iowa.

“Generally we see a lot higher rates of cases in the winter time because we’re using our heating sources a lot more,” said Willems.

Willems said the only way to really know if you have carbon monoxide in your home is using a detector.

“It’s a one time cost that’s fairly inexpensive that really could save your life,” said Willems.

Willems said there is not currently a law that requires people to have a carbon monoxide detector in homes in Iowa.

In Minnesota, homes must have a working carbon monoxide alarm that is ten feet from each room where people may sleep.

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