Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is lethal because it hijacks haemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells. This starves the body of oxygen, affecting vital functions, causing a heart attack, coma and ultimately death.

While most households have a smoke detector, less than a third have a carbon monoxide alarm, which cost from £10.

Even if you have no fuel-burning appliances in your home, you still need an alert because the gas can pass though walls from next door.

Tony Brunton, of CO Awareness, says always look for a UK certified alarm that makes a noise, rather than flashes, if the gas is detected. ‘Carbon monoxide can kill in three minutes,’ he says. ‘If it’s in the house, you want something that tells you to get out immediately, not flashes up a different colour.’

Beware if:
■  You see yellow or orange flames in boilers and heaters when there should be blue ones.
■ There is soot on the walls around fires and water heaters.
■  Your chimney is blocked by nesting birds or your exit flue or airbricks are covered by plants growing up the walls.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are, in many ways, similar to flu.

The key difference is that they tend to disappear as soon as you go outside and get fresh air as the oxygen levels in the blood are restored. That’s why it’s important to mention any concerns about ventilation or heating in your home to your doctor.

Symptoms to watch out for include:

Anxiety and depression
Tiredness and drowsiness
Heart palpitations
Chest pain
Personality change and clumsiness

full article

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