A new report released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month warns senior citizens to be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning because the symptoms of the condition resemble those of the common cold.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colorless gas, and is the most common cause of poisoning death in the U.S. Older people suffering from conditions such as anemia or who have heart problems may be more susceptible to CO poisoning.
An easy way to determine the difference between the two conditions is for seniors to notice if they feel better when they are away from their home, according to the EPA.
Also, if indoor pets appear ill, it may be CO poisoning since they are more likely to experience the symptoms first.
The EPA recommends senior citizens install CO alarms near sleeping areas and ensure their heating systems and fuel-burning appliances are checked annually. Seniors should avoid the use of non-vented combustion appliances and never burn fuels indoors (save for stoves and furnaces).
Unintentional CO poisoning is responsible for approximately 500 deaths and 15,000 visits to the emergency room each year.