TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- As temperatures drop and you turn on the heat for the first time, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment wants to remind you of the dangers of carbon monoxide.
According to KDHE, Kansas had 174 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning between May 2018 and May 2019. They say carbon monoxide causes, on average, 11 deaths in the state every year.
Cherie Sage, state director for Safe Kids Kansas, says you may not realize you're being poisoned by carbon monoxide.
"You cannot see it or smell it," she said. "It's particularly dangerous."
Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas, sometimes referred to as an 'invisible killer.'
"Often times this time of year, people think that they're coming down with the flu, their families getting sick, where they may all be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning," Sage said. "The only way to know if your being poisoned is to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home that's going to alert you if you have elevated levels of carbon monoxide."
Heating appliances pose the biggest CO danger.
"Furnaces, even your hot water heater, indoor grills, portable generators, things like that are common sources of this gas. Portable generators are associated with many carbon monoxide deaths annually," she said. "We do recommend that you have your furnaces expected annually that way the inspector can tell you if there are leaks, cracks in pipes, so have those monitored."
Sage says it's important to take your safety seriously.
"The greatest risk of carbon monoxide is that it can cause death," she said.
You can find ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, here.
The Kansas Office of the State Fire Marshal is working to install free smoke alarms, which include CO detection. click here for information.