Carbon Monoxide Facts and Alarm Giveaway

Carbon Monoxide

Why should people be alarmed?

Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that has no colour, taste or smell, meaning it can easily be inhaled without somebody realising. When carbon monoxide is breathed in, it starves the body of oxygen. High levels can kill within minutes, but it can also cause a range of non-fatal health problems, ranging from headaches and drowsiness through to lasting brain and nervous system damage.

Despite the dangers, studies have shown that fewer than one in ten homes have a carbon monoxide alarm.* An audible carbon monoxide alarm is the only effective way for people to protect themselves and their families. Recent regulatory changes in Northern Ireland and Scotland will see more alarms installed in homes. However, not everyone will be covered, so we urge people, wherever they are based, to purchase and install an alarm today.

Young children and elderly people are particularly at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning because their bodies are less able to withstand the effects. Women should also be aware that if they don’t have an alarm and are pregnant they are putting their unborn child at risk.

How many people are affected?

According to the Department of Health, more than 50 people in England and Wales die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, and thousands more are treated in hospital. It is likely many more victims go unrecognised because the early symptoms can easily be mistaken for common illnesses such as flu or food poisoning.

What are the causes of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, charcoal, coal and wood do not burn fully. The most common cause of this is when a household fuel-burning appliance, such as a boiler or cooker, is installed incorrectly or is poorly maintained.

Carbon monoxide can also build up in homes when flues, chimneys or vents are blocked, and lit barbeques emit carbon monoxide, and continue to do so once they’re extinguished.

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Four steps to protect yourself

The Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign recommends four simple steps to keep your household safe:

1. Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm in your home – if you don’t have one, go and get one today. You can get them from most energy suppliers, DIY stores and supermarkets and many other high street shops. Make sure you buy an audible alarm – it should meet the European standard, EN50291. The alarm will sound if too much carbon monoxide is in the air.

2. Have fuel-burning appliances serviced annually by a registered professional.

3. Don’t block ventilation points and get chimneys swept at least once a year.

4. Learn about the danger signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning at www.co-bealarmed.co.uk

5. There have been a number of cases recently of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by barbeques in enclosed spaces, such as in tents. When camping, be sure not to bring your barbeque inside with you, lit or extinguished, as the build-up of carbon monoxide emitted in a small space can be fatal.

What are the symptoms?

Carbon monoxide can be fatal and can lead to a range of serious health problems including lasting brain and nervous system damage.

The symptoms of mild poisoning are often similar to common illnesses such as flu or food-poisoning, meaning people often don’t realise they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning until the symptoms get worse.

The most common symptoms of mild poisoning are: nausea, dizziness, tiredness, headaches and abdominal pain. Some people may also vomit.

The longer someone breathes in carbon monoxide, the worse the symptoms will get. They may lose their balance, vision and memory. There is also a high chance with high or prolonged exposure that they will fall unconscious or, at worst, die. This can happen within two hours if there is a lot of carbon monoxide in the air.

Other warning signs that suggest carbon monoxide poisoning include:

· Other people in your house, flat or workplace experiencing similar symptoms

· Symptoms disappearing when you leave your home and returning when you come back

 

What to do in an emergency

If your alarm goes off or you spot other signs of carbon monoxide:

· Open doors or windows for ventilation and leave your home immediately

· Stop using all your cooking and heating appliances that use fuels such as gas, oil wood, charcoal or coal. Seek immediate advice from your GP if you think you have carbon monoxide poisoning or, if it is urgent, call 999 for an ambulance

· Call the relevant emergency advice line: Gas Emergency Service (24 hours) 0800 111 999; Solid fuels (HETAS) 0845 634 5626; Oil (OFTEC) 0845 658 5080

· Have all appliances serviced and checked. Do not use them until you are told it’s safe to do so

 

For information and advice on how to stay safe visit: www.co-bealarmed.co.uk

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91 Comments

  • Tracey Peach

    November 2, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Headache

  • Paul Wilson

    November 2, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Dizziness.

  • Laura H

    November 2, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Dizziness

  • kenny

    November 2, 2013 at 9:08 am

    nausea, dizziness, tiredness, headaches and abdominal pain

  • katie

    November 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Nausea

  • Lorraine Tinsley

    November 2, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Headache

  • Anthony Priest

    November 2, 2013 at 9:25 am

    headache

  • Jo Jones

    November 2, 2013 at 9:26 am

    The most common symptoms of mild poisoning are: nausea, dizziness, tiredness, headaches and abdominal pain. Some may also vomit.

  • Annie Costa

    November 2, 2013 at 9:28 am

    nausea

  • Sarah Higgins

    November 2, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Tiredness

  • Sarah Wyatt

    November 2, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Nausea

  • cristina curran (@cricrinapoli1)

    November 2, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Dizziness

  • Karen Barrett

    November 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Dizziness

  • Leanne V mckenna

    November 2, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Headache

  • David Vessey

    November 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Nausea

  • Kat Lucas

    November 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Dizziness

  • Rebecca maddocks

    November 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Headache

  • Zoe G

    November 2, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Nausea

  • Adele Hill

    November 2, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Nausea

  • rebecca

    November 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    vomiting

  • Christopher Powell

    November 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Dizziness

  • Muhammad Asim

    November 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    headaches

  • Hilda Wright

    November 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    headache!

  • Lauren

    November 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Nausea

  • Wayne Smart

    November 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Headache

  • Tracy Newton

    November 2, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Dizziness

  • Caroline

    November 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Nausea

  • Shazia khan

    November 2, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Nausea

  • Victoria Ann Entwistle

    November 2, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Dizziness

  • anthony harrington

    November 2, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Dizziness

  • Danika Lloyd

    November 2, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    nausea

  • Ben Potts

    November 2, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    abdominal pain

  • Carrie Ashton

    November 2, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Headaches

  • Rosalind Sargent

    November 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Tiredness

  • Joseph Watson

    November 3, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Nausea

  • Kelly Dutton

    November 3, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Dizziness

  • Claire Smith

    November 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Headache

  • Maggie Coates (@Pumpkin2k9)

    November 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    headache

  • Tammy Tudor

    November 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Nausea

  • svetlana lemantovic

    November 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Nausea

  • Gavin Beale

    November 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Nausea

  • Deborah Wheeler

    November 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Headache

  • Stewart Waddell

    November 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Dizziness

  • Jill Webb

    November 4, 2013 at 9:09 am

    tiredness,

  • Stephanie Whitehouse

    November 4, 2013 at 11:50 am

    nausea

  • Rob Griffiths

    November 4, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Dizziness

  • soozybee

    November 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Headaches

  • Mummy of Two

    November 5, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Nausea

  • Sarah N

    November 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Headaches

  • Jeremy Hards

    November 5, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Nausea

  • Jane Henshaw

    November 5, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Headache

  • Diana

    November 5, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Headache

  • Donna Kent

    November 6, 2013 at 1:12 am

    You said one so I’ll go with headaches as this is usually what I get when I’ve been sleeping with the heating on and doors closed, slowly poisoning myself from my own breathing.

  • cathyj

    November 6, 2013 at 5:55 am

    headaches

  • angela sandhu (@angiesandhu)

    November 6, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Headache

  • Kim Howard

    November 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Dizziness!

  • Mickie Bull (@MorningPostie)

    November 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Dizziness

  • Starry (@Orangeblossom78)

    November 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Headaches

  • Amy Ripley

    November 7, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Headaches!

  • Val swift

    November 10, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Dizziness

  • Emma Lewis

    November 10, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Nausea

  • Jo Booth

    November 11, 2013 at 10:10 am

    feeling dizzy

  • Hannah ONeill

    November 11, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Nausea

  • tony allan

    November 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Headache

  • Cris Curran

    November 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Dizziness

  • Susie Wilkinson

    November 17, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Nausea

  • Solange

    November 17, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Dizziness

  • Rachael Lines

    November 23, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Headache

  • ESME MCCRUBB

    November 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    HEADACHE

  • CATHERINE WILLIAMS

    November 25, 2013 at 12:35 am

    headaches

  • kim neville (@kimneville2)

    December 2, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Dizziness

  • Clint Thompson

    December 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Nausea

  • leanne williams

    December 4, 2013 at 6:55 am

    headache

  • Hazel Christopher

    December 4, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Dizziness

  • Lisa Sands

    December 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Headache x

  • TracyJo

    December 5, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Tiredness

  • SHARON ASLLANI

    December 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Dizziness

  • Hazel Rush

    December 5, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Nausea

  • Rebecca Lis (@bex552)

    December 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Nausea

  • Robyn Logan Clarke

    December 5, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Headache

  • Emma Boitoult

    December 5, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Nausea

  • James Holyland

    December 6, 2013 at 3:28 am

    Nausea

  • jodie harvey

    December 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    headache

  • Karen M Colquhoun

    December 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    headache

  • Kay Braisher

    December 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    abdominal pain

  • Alice Beaumont

    December 6, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Dizziness

  • Teresa Lee

    December 6, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Dizziness

  • Kieran

    December 6, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    nausea

  • Helen Garner

    December 6, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    headache

  • Vicki Harper-Ward

    December 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Headaches

  • Alex Pimson

    June 25, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Carbon monoxide on top of being the ‘silent’ killer also has such a low awareness. There are alot of petitions online that are gaining more and more members that are trying to get CO detectors installed in every home, I personally think that would be a great Idea. I bought one for me and my parents from http://www.dhsspares.co.uk about 6 months ago. there are alot of online places that do safety deals and you can pick high quality ones up for a fraction of the normal price so it is always worth keeping your eyes open for promotions. Sorry for commenting on an old post its just something that I feel more people should definitely be made aware of…..

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