Your family is at risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning if there are any appliances in your home that use gas, oil, coal or wood. Because carbon monoxide does not have any color, smell, or taste, it is not easy to determine when it is present. Carbon-based fuels are typically safe to use, but they become a health hazard when they do not burn properly.
When carbon monoxide is breathed into the body, it combines with the haemoglobin in the blood. Haemoglobin is the part of the red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. When carbon monoxide is mixed with haemoglobin, the bodys cells, tissues, and organs cannot receive oxygen, and they begin to die. Over time, even small amounts of carbon monoxide in the blood over time can be fatal or cause paralysis and brain damage.
Someone with carbon monoxide poisoning may incorrectly diagnose the symptoms as being caused by another ailment. The symptoms of CO poisoning are very similar to common illnesses, such as viral infections, the flu, food poisoning, and fatigue: nausea, vomiting, headaches, tiredness, and stomach pains. Other symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include problems with vision, trouble breathing, erratic behavior, and chest pains.
Many homes contain gas appliances and flues, and these can both cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Sadly, an average of twenty UK residents die from CO poisoning each year, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Improper installation of gas appliances and flues along with the lack of recommended maintenance cause the majority of residential carbon monoxide incidents. A constant supply of fresh air is essential for a home that operates carbon-based fuel appliances.
The best protection against CO poisoning is being prepared. You must be aware that wherever there is carbon-based fuel being used, the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning exists. Everyone in the home needs to know the dangers and signs of CO in the air. A properly installed carbon monoxide alarm can give you an early warning of the presence of carbon monoxide. Make sure your alarm has a British or European approval mark and complies with British Standard EN 50291. These audible alarms are especially useful if carbon monoxide begins to fill the air at night while everyone is asleep.
Insist on a CORGI-registered technician when you install a flue or gas appliance in your home. CORGI-registered installers are trained to set up your appliance or flue accordingly to safe procedures. Once your appliance or flue is installed, have it inspected once a year by a CORGI-registered professional to make sure everything is operating properly and there are no safety risks to your family from carbon monoxide. To prevent CO problems from your flue, hire a professional chimney sweep to thoroughly clean it every year.