Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the silent killer. This deadly gas put around 200 people into
hospital every year and is known to cause approximately 40 deaths per year but this is only the
confirmed number but it could be higher as there will be cases that occur that are not reported.
So what is carbon monoxide?
It is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that, due to its make up is incredibly difficult to detect.
The most common cause of the gas being in a breathable environment is faulty or unmaintained
appliances around the home. These appliances include cookers, boilers and heaters. Carbon monoxide
poisoning can occur in areas outside of the home due to portable devices that can be found in caravans,
boats and also mobile homes.
It only takes a low level of carbon monoxide to cause symptoms that include headaches, nauses and
trouble concentrating. Quite often the symptoms of CO poisoning can mimic those of a virus such as flu
which can be a deadly mistake. With increased exposure a person can expect to feel delirious, have an
increased heart rate and also start having hallucinations. It is important to note that symptoms can develop
and continue over a long period of time. Slightly higher levels can cause death within only a few minutes/
If at anytime you so being to feel unwell that you should consider CO poisoning and think about asking
yourself a few questions. Firstly check if anyone else in the house is effected. If you have any pets, check to
see if they are unwell. If you leave your house do the symptoms wear off? Take a quck look around any
appliances such as fires, boilers and cookers to see if there are any sooty stains. If you can check any
flames that see if you have a yellow flame rather than a nice blue one.
If you notice any of these things, then immediately turn off any appliances, open windows and vacate the
premises. Contact the national gas emergency service and wait outside untill they arrive. If you still feel
very unwell, get medical attention, In the future, remember to fit an alarm that will detect carbon monoxide.