DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. - In the heart of flu season, there's another danger you need to be aware of, carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide poisoning sends 50,000 to the emergency room every year.

The problem is the symptoms are similar the flu.

"You can't see it, you can't taste it and you smell it, but you can protect yourself from it," Waylon Turbeville, an assistant fire marshal for Davidson County said.

This time of year is when it really becomes an issue.

"Part of what we see especially with the winter months is heating issues along with snow and ice storms along with people trying to trying to stay warm during power outages," Alton Hanes said.

Alton Hanes, an emergency management coordinator, says space heaters, cooking grills, and generators are the main culprits of carbon monoxide poisoning.

It shares common symptoms with the flu, like headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, chest pain, weakness and dizziness.

Dr. Sloan Manning, a medical director at Novant Health, says make you sure you pay close attention to this next symptom.

"This whole confusion thing...confusion is a pretty serious sign, that's a lack of oxygen, that's a danger sign." Dr. Manning explained.

Carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in your blood. Without oxygen, blood cells die, and your organs stop working.

Turbeville says you should always keep up with your carbon monoxide detector.

He recommends light switch height, but regardless of where it is, make sure it works.Test it every month, change the batteries twice a year, and replace it every 5 years.

A couple other things to keep in mind: You shouldn't let your car run in an attached garage even if the garage door is open because carbon monoxide can still leak into your house.

If you do ever have to use a portable generator make sure it's at least 15 feet outside your house or garage away from windows.