A silent killer responsible for almost 50 deaths in 2013, knowing the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is an essential part of gas safety.
A harmful substance that’s difficult to detect due to its invisibility, lack of smell and taste, carbon monoxide poses a serious health risk to both humans and animals.
A natural occurrence when fuels such as gas, oil, wood and coal burn, carbon dioxide will slowly replace the oxygen used by the fire in an enclosed space. When fuels fail to burn properly, carbon monoxide is released.
If carbon monoxide is present in your home, it’s possible for it to enter your bloodstream via your lungs, without you even knowing.
Presenting as flu or a hangover, symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, breathlessness and loss of consciousness.
A tell-tale sign of a carbon monoxide leak is when your symptoms disappear when you change environments, or you notice that they are exacerbated when you do something as routine as turning on your heating.
If others whom you live with are also experiencing the same symptoms and you notice a difference in your pets, for example, it’s crucial to seek medical attention.
Where the symptoms are detected early, carbon monoxide poisoning is relatively straightforward to treat, so it’s essential to contact your GP immediately should you suspect a leak.
In order to keep yourself and those you live with safe, it’s important to keep any gas appliances in your home well maintained. From cookers and heaters through to boilers, it’s necessary to have all of your gas appliances serviced once a year and to have any faults repaired straightaway.
If you suspect a gas leak within your home you should:
• Stop using your gas appliances
• Ventilate your home by opening all possible windows and doors
• Go to a safe place where you don’t suspect a leak
• Contact the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111999 immediately
• Visit your GP as soon as possible