Preventing a potentially deadly killer this time of year

(CNN) – If you lose electricity during severe winter weather, be careful using alternative sources of power for heat.

Carbon monoxide can build up in a home, which can be life-threatening.

The Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention says at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning every year, and almost 50,000 people visit the emergency room.

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The colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas fumes can be produced by chimneys, portable generators, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood inside the home.

To protect yourself and family, change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector every six months.

If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up detector, buy one.

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Also, watch out for the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: Headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

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