In the UK, about 50 people die each year in their homes from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is a product of incomplete combustion of natural or petroleum gas. Inhaling the gas reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen, leaving the body’s organs and cells starved of oxygen.
Common sources of carbon monoxide in the home include faulty central heating systems, gas appliances and fires. Blocked flues and chimneys mean the gas can’t escape and is inhaled by the unsuspecting individual.
Car exhausts are also a common source of carbon monoxide.
The symptoms of mild carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of flu and cold infections or food poisoning; nausea, headache, dizziness etc
But, unlike flu infection, carbon monoxide poisoning doesn’t cause a high temperature.
In children, the symptoms are similar to those of a stomach upset, with nausea and vomiting.
More severe poisoning can result in a fast and irregular heart rate, hyperventilation, confusion, drowsiness and difficulty breathing. Seizures and loss of consciousness may also occur.
Some symptoms can occur a few days or even months after exposure to carbon monoxide. These may include confusion, loss of memory and problems with coordination.
Our Safety-tips for preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning are:
- Have chimneys and flues checked regularly
- Make sure gas appliances and heating systems are inspected every year
- Fit carbon monoxide alarms or use a Carbon Monoxide Detector Patch
- Never run cars, motorbikes or lawnmowers in a closed garage