Carbon Monoxide – The Silent Killer
Each year, up to 50 people in the UK die from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. That may not seem much but each of these deaths is easily preventable.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a gas that’s produced by burning fuel used in vehicles, stoves, gas lanterns, fireplaces and boilers.
CO is colourless, odourless, invisible and silent. Above all, it’s deadly. If you’re not properly informed or equipped, you won’t know it’s there.
So what can you do to understand and prevent the presence of CO in your home?
Recognise The Signs
Long term exposure can be caused by a slow leak. Symptoms can include:
- Unexplained fatigue
- Problems Concentrating
- Stomach upsets
- Chest pain
- Flu-like symptoms without a fever
Acute exposure can cause people to die in their sleep without suffering any symptoms. Other signs that you may be exposed include feeling better when you’re away from home, others in the house having the same symptoms and symptoms worsening in the colder months.
You should also check for black, soot marks around the boiler and fireplace, smoke coming back down the chimney and a yellow boiler pilot flame instead of blue.
If caught in time, hospital treatment will be required. Oxygen therapy involves breathing in 100% oxygen to flush CO from the body and replace the carboxhaemoglobin with pure oxygen.
Prolonged exposure to CO over a period of time can result in long term damage including:
- Brain damage, loss of memory, hearing and sight problems
- Coronary heart disease and angina
- Pregnancy complications such as premature birth, stillbirth and brain damage to the unborn child.
How To Protect Your Home
Simple measures can be taken to detect CO leakages and prevent them from happening in the first place:
- Install a CO detector with an alarm. These are widely available and inexpensive.
- Your boiler and other heating systems should be inspected at least once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The importance of gas safety and boiler maintenance in your home should never be ignored.
- If you have a fireplace, get it swept at least once a year.
- Ensure that all gas appliances are properly ventilated.
Ask your gas safety engineer for more advice on protecting your home from CO leaks. KMH Gas Southampton are Gas Safe registered, approved and insured engineers. For information on gas safety and boiler servicing Southampton, contact us today.