As temperatures drop and residents start cranking up the heat, precautions should be taken to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide — a colorless, odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion in home heating systems, gas ovens, dryers, fireplaces and automobiles — can be fatal if there’s prolonged exposure, Michael Street, Atmos Energy spokesman, said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

Street said if people experiences these symptoms, they should call 911 or seek medical attention immediately and not use the gas appliance until it have been inspected, services and determined to be safe.

Street said there are several ways carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented, including having a qualified heating system professional annual inspect natural gas appliances and venting systems, by installing carbon monoxide detectors, clean chimneys and flues to ensure appliances have proper ventilation and keeping clutter away from gas furnaces and water heaters.

Street said natural gas ovens should never be used as a heating source, and kerosene and other portable heaters should be ventilated to the outside.

For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, go to www.cdc.gov.

Contact Natalie Stewart at nstewart@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7555

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