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Space heater burns sending a number of Oklahomans to the ER

OKLAHOMA CITY - Doctors are warning you about getting too close to portable heaters.

Already this winter metro hospitals have treated a number of burn patients.

Dr. Lance Watson, with Mercy Hospital, estimates every year the emergency room sees 10 to 15 patients burned by space heaters.

"Typically it's just from not being aware of how close they are to the actual space heater," Dr. Watson said.

Mercy is not the only hospital seeing burn patients.

Integris said since December, six people have been admitted to Paul Silverstein Burn Center for severe burns due to space heaters.

Doctors have a few tips that could save you a trip to the ER.

First, keep your space heater out of a child’s reach and away from loose clothing, like your pajama pants, and other materials.

Also, when it is on do not get too cozy next to it.

"There's some people that have conditions where they really don't have good feeling in their extremities. So diabetics may be having neuropathy and really just don't have good sensation in their legs or feet and so they can sometimes get burns by getting too close," Dr. Watson said.

Space heaters are not just causing burns, some can cause people to become seriously ill.

"People may have a gas furnace, or something along those lines, and it's not working well and a lot of times they don't realize that they have a gas leak and can come in with symptoms of headache, nausea, not feeling well and that can be classic carbon monoxide poisoning," Dr. Watson said.

Remember, there are home alarms that can detect carbon monoxide.

Another tip, never leave your space heater on and unattended.

It does not take much for one to accidentally get knocked over and start a fire.