Carbon monoxide – known as the silent killer because you can’t see, smell or taste it – is a deadly gas and needs to be treated with the utmost care and attention.
Carbon Monoxide is produced by the burning of various fuels, including; coal, wood, charcoal, oil, propane and natural gases. Poisoning doesn’t just happen in domestic homes; there have been many cases in which care homes, schools and commercial premises have experienced gas leaks..
Faulty boilers, generators and plant machinery, are the main causes of Carbon Monoxide exposure.
When carbon monoxide is breathed in, it enters your bloodstream and mixes with the haemoglobin in your blood to form carboxyhaemoglobin. When this happens, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen, and this lack of oxygen causes the body’s cells and tissue to fail and die.
A tension-type headache is the most common symptom of mild carbon monoxide poisoning. Other symptoms that you should be aware of:
• Breathing difficulties or chest pains
• Lightheadedness or dizziness
• Eye or throat irritation
• Nausea or reduced appetite
• Depression, irritability, or other mood changes
• Ringing in ears
• Frequent nosebleeds
If you experience any of the above symptoms and you think this is due to a possible CO leak in your home or business then contact A&E straight away.
Installing a CO detector will alert you to any dangerous levels of CO before it is too late. All CO detectors should be fitted in any rooms that have a fuel-burning appliance in them. Alarms must be placed between one to three metres away from the heating appliance; preferably on the ceiling and a minimum of 300mm away from the wall.
Toxic poisoning can be suffered as the result of sudden high exposure to CO, or pro-longed exposure over time; therefore the detection of CO is calculated by analysing concentration over time.
Apart from installing a CO detector all Boilers, cookers, heating systems and appliances should be installed and regularly serviced by a reputable, registered engineer.
Do not attempt to install or service appliances yourself.
Anyone carrying out work on installations and appliances in your home must be registered with a relevant association, such as the: