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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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Facebook Comments

92 Comments

  1. Tracey Peach
    November 2, 2013 / 8:49 am

    Headache

  2. Paul Wilson
    November 2, 2013 / 8:51 am

    Dizziness.

  3. Laura H
    November 2, 2013 / 9:00 am

    Dizziness

  4. kenny
    November 2, 2013 / 9:08 am

    nausea, dizziness, tiredness, headaches and abdominal pain

  5. katie
    November 2, 2013 / 9:11 am

    Nausea

  6. Lorraine Tinsley
    November 2, 2013 / 9:14 am

    Headache

  7. Anthony Priest
    November 2, 2013 / 9:25 am

    headache

  8. Jo Jones
    November 2, 2013 / 9:26 am

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

  9. Annie Costa
    November 2, 2013 / 9:28 am

    nausea

  10. Sarah Higgins
    November 2, 2013 / 9:51 am

    Tiredness

  11. Sarah Wyatt
    November 2, 2013 / 10:59 am

    Nausea

  12. Karen Barrett
    November 2, 2013 / 12:14 pm

    Dizziness

  13. Leanne V mckenna
    November 2, 2013 / 12:31 pm

    Headache

  14. David Vessey
    November 2, 2013 / 12:36 pm

    Nausea

  15. Kat Lucas
    November 2, 2013 / 12:40 pm

    Dizziness

  16. Rebecca maddocks
    November 2, 2013 / 1:43 pm

    Headache

  17. Zoe G
    November 2, 2013 / 2:35 pm

    Nausea

  18. Adele Hill
    November 2, 2013 / 2:39 pm

    Nausea

  19. rebecca
    November 2, 2013 / 3:26 pm

    vomiting

  20. Christopher Powell
    November 2, 2013 / 3:57 pm

    Dizziness

  21. Muhammad Asim
    November 2, 2013 / 4:04 pm

    headaches

  22. Lauren
    November 2, 2013 / 7:02 pm

    Nausea

  23. Wayne Smart
    November 2, 2013 / 7:03 pm

    Headache

  24. Tracy Newton
    November 2, 2013 / 7:20 pm

    Dizziness

  25. Caroline
    November 2, 2013 / 7:23 pm

    Nausea

  26. Shazia khan
    November 2, 2013 / 7:24 pm

    Nausea

  27. Victoria Ann Entwistle
    November 2, 2013 / 8:20 pm

    Dizziness

  28. anthony harrington
    November 2, 2013 / 9:08 pm

    Dizziness

  29. Ben Potts
    November 2, 2013 / 10:18 pm

    abdominal pain

  30. Carrie Ashton
    November 2, 2013 / 11:01 pm

    Headaches

  31. Rosalind Sargent
    November 2, 2013 / 11:58 pm

    Tiredness

  32. Joseph Watson
    November 3, 2013 / 8:51 am

    Nausea

  33. Kelly Dutton
    November 3, 2013 / 9:23 am

    Dizziness

  34. Claire Smith
    November 3, 2013 / 11:36 am

    Headache

  35. Tammy Tudor
    November 3, 2013 / 3:35 pm

    Nausea

  36. svetlana lemantovic
    November 3, 2013 / 5:45 pm

    Nausea

  37. Gavin Beale
    November 3, 2013 / 7:23 pm

    Nausea

  38. Deborah Wheeler
    November 3, 2013 / 7:23 pm

    Headache

  39. Stewart Waddell
    November 3, 2013 / 9:17 pm

    Dizziness

  40. Jill Webb
    November 4, 2013 / 9:09 am

    tiredness,

  41. Stephanie Whitehouse
    November 4, 2013 / 11:50 am

    nausea

  42. Rob Griffiths
    November 4, 2013 / 4:49 pm

    Dizziness

  43. Jeremy Hards
    November 5, 2013 / 7:12 pm

    Nausea

  44. Jane Henshaw
    November 5, 2013 / 8:44 pm

    Headache

  45. Diana
    November 5, 2013 / 10:16 pm

    Headache

  46. Donna Kent
    November 6, 2013 / 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.

  47. cathyj
    November 6, 2013 / 5:55 am

    headaches

  48. Kim Howard
    November 6, 2013 / 12:52 pm

    Dizziness!

  49. Starry (@Orangeblossom78)
    November 7, 2013 / 1:13 pm

    Headaches

  50. Amy Ripley
    November 7, 2013 / 10:21 pm

    Headaches!

  51. Val swift
    November 10, 2013 / 4:47 pm

    Dizziness

  52. Emma Lewis
    November 10, 2013 / 11:41 pm

    Nausea

  53. Jo Booth
    November 11, 2013 / 10:10 am

    feeling dizzy

  54. Hannah ONeill
    November 11, 2013 / 9:11 pm

    Nausea

  55. tony allan
    November 12, 2013 / 9:08 pm

    Headache

  56. Cris Curran
    November 13, 2013 / 9:35 pm

    Dizziness

  57. Susie Wilkinson
    November 17, 2013 / 9:55 am

    Nausea

  58. Solange
    November 17, 2013 / 6:44 pm

    Dizziness

  59. ESME MCCRUBB
    November 23, 2013 / 9:50 pm

    HEADACHE

  60. CATHERINE WILLIAMS
    November 25, 2013 / 12:35 am

    headaches

  61. Clint Thompson
    December 3, 2013 / 9:08 pm

    Nausea

  62. leanne williams
    December 4, 2013 / 6:55 am

    headache

  63. Lisa Sands
    December 5, 2013 / 12:22 pm

    Headache x

  64. TracyJo
    December 5, 2013 / 2:31 pm

    Tiredness

  65. SHARON ASLLANI
    December 5, 2013 / 6:36 pm

    Dizziness

  66. Hazel Rush
    December 5, 2013 / 9:02 pm

    Nausea

  67. Emma Boitoult
    December 5, 2013 / 11:13 pm

    Nausea

  68. James Holyland
    December 6, 2013 / 3:28 am

    Nausea

  69. jodie harvey
    December 6, 2013 / 12:14 pm

    headache

  70. Karen M Colquhoun
    December 6, 2013 / 1:35 pm

    headache

  71. Kay Braisher
    December 6, 2013 / 2:39 pm

    abdominal pain

  72. Alice Beaumont
    December 6, 2013 / 6:50 pm

    Dizziness

  73. Teresa Lee
    December 6, 2013 / 9:10 pm

    Dizziness

  74. Kieran
    December 6, 2013 / 9:25 pm

    nausea

  75. Helen Garner
    December 6, 2013 / 10:18 pm

    headache

  76. Vicki Harper-Ward
    December 6, 2013 / 10:51 pm

    Headaches

  77. Alex Pimson
    June 25, 2014 / 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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