Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This can be caused by incompetent fitting of gas appliances of lack of maintenance, or if flues, chimneys or vents become blocked. Solid fuels, such as coal, wood, petrol, as well as oil, can also produce carbon monoxide when they burn. This is why it is important to have your annual service carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
Some of the symptoms could be compared to those of a bad hangover, however CO can be lethal and is very dangerous as you can’t see, taste or smell it. It’s important to know the symptoms of CO poisoning to act quickly.
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
CO poisoning occurs when it replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream, causing body tissue and cells to die. Even small amounts of the gas can cause poisoning, and long term exposure can have life long effects such as paralysis and brain damage.
CO poisoning symptoms are similar to those of flu, food poisoning, viral infections, fatigue, and a hangover which makes it easy to mistake this very dangerous poisoning for something else.
The six main symptoms
Loss of consciousness
There are also other signs that could indicate CO poisoning, such as:
Symptoms occur when you are at home but disappear when you leave.
Others in your household (including pets) are experiencing similar symptoms at a similar time.
What are the signs of a carbon monoxide leak?
Any of the following could be a sign of CO in your home:
Weak, yellow or orange flame on your gas hob, rather than crisp blue
Dark, sooty staining on or around gas appliances
Pilot lights that frequently blow out
Increased condensation inside windows
If you detect any of these signs, please contact your Magna-IM immediately on 01926 419922 to inspect your gas appliances and flues.
What to do if you suspect CO poisoning
Don’t delay – get fresh air immediately.
Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house.
See your doctor immediately or go to hospital. They can do a blood or breath test to check and can advise if you need treatment for CO poisoning.
If you think there is an immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999 (GB) or the relevant service for your area.
You can also visit the NHS website for detailed information on the symptoms of CO poisoning, what action to take and the treatment that’s usually provided.
For more information see: www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help-and-advice/carbon-monoxide-poisoning