Carbon Monoxide warning is given

THE Southern Trust is warning about the dangers of of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Approximately 50 people are killed and hundreds more suffer the ill-effects of carbon monoxide poisoning every year in the UK.

Just last week the MAIL reported how a young family escaped death in Pomeroy when their carbon monoxide alarm alerted them yo high levels of the gas in their home.

Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’ – you can’t see, taste, or smell it. It is produced by the incomplete burning of any carbon-based fossil fuels like coal, gas, oil, petrol, paraffin, charcoal and wood.

People are urged to be vigilant for the signs and symptoms and to install a carbon monoxide alarm which will alert you if you have high levels of carbon monoxide in your home.

It is also important that heating and other fuel burning appliances are installed, checked and maintained every year by a qualified engineer.

Nina Daly, Accident Prevention Officer, for the Southern Trust says: “Carbon monoxide poisoning can sometimes be fatal but can also cause long-term health problems if victims are exposed to low doses over a long period of time.

“There tends to be an increase in the reported cases of carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter months as we use more heating. Nina says the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide are often mistaken for food poisoning or flu but without a raised temperature.

She added: “If you think you have been exposed to carbon monoxide gas it is important that you go to your nearest Emergency Department immediately where you can get a breath or blood test to determine the levels of gas in your blood.

“Be aware that Carbon Monoxide quickly leaves the blood and tests may be inaccurate if taken more than four hours after exposure.”

Physical symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning are headaches, nausea, exhaustion, drowsiness, dizziness and light-headedness, vomiting, ‘Flu like’ symptoms, palpitations, (feeling your heart beat oddly), chest pain, collapse without necessarily losing consciousness, followed by unconsciousness and perhaps death.

Safety tips

1.Know the environmental signs and physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

2.Keep your home well ventilated. Keep flues, air vents and grilles clear.

3.Sweep chimneys and flues every year if you use solid fuel.

4.If you are in rented accommodation check your landlord can provide you with an up-to-date gas safety record which is required by law.

5.Invest in an audible Carbon Monoxide alarm that conforms with BS EN 50291 and carries a British/European approval mark. (Carbon Monoxide alarms cost as little as £20 and can bought from DIY and food retail stores.

Environmental signs of Carbon Monoxide poisoning

A sooty or yellow/brown staining on or around the appliance.

Excess condensation in the room, lazy yellow/orange coloured gas flames on cookers or boilers, rather than a sharp blue one, fires slow to light or that burn slowly or go out.