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Area Agency on Aging

Posted on: December 13, 2012

Heating Season Woes

Heating season is here and may present several potential problems that if anticipated and handled can minimize your risk. The first consideration should be safety. Heating systems involve burning fuel to generate heat. This is most often natural gas or fuel oil and sometimes coal or wood. All fuel combustion may generate carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, toxic and potentially lethal gas. Children are particularly vulnerable to this toxicity. Heating systems should be inspected and serviced as necessary by competent professionals at regular intervals. Usually such inspections should occur annually and when a problem is obvious. Use carbon monoxide detectors on floors where fuel is burned.

Another major problem with heating systems is that they dry the air to the extent that mucous membranes in the nose, mouth and throat become dry and are rendered much less efficient filters. This makes us all more vulnerable to air borne infection. A humidifier or heating unit hydration system will limit some of the negative effects of this drying. Also, dry eye syndrome can be exacerbated by these conditions. Consult your physician for any symptoms you have that may be related to a dry heating system environment.

Westmoreland County Area Agency on Aging Information Line
200 South Main Street
Greensburg, PA 15601
Contact: Mark Hanna
Ph: (724) 830-4444

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