Health Watch - Autumn: Heater Check

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about the fall season. Before you turn on the furnace or gas heater, it’s a good idea to get it inspected so you can protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide fumes are the number one cause of poisoning deaths. Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, a toxicologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says most cases involve poorly installed gas appliances or improper use of gas appliances or charcoal grills indoors. To prevent poisoning, make sure appliances are properly installed and maintained. Don’t use gas stoves, charcoal grills or camp stoves to heat your home. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath and dizziness. If everyone in the house gets a headache at the same time, you may have a carbon monoxide problem. Install carbon monoxide detectors to alert you if levels of the gas get too high.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in emergency care.


October 2009

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