22/12/2006

Health professionals need to be CO aware

There is still a great deal of ignorance about carbon monoxide poisoning and
lives are being lost needlessly as a result. More publicity about its dangers
is necessary so that people understand the importance of having heating
appliances serviced annually ­ and that includes having chimneys swept.

Symptoms can start with drowsiness, headaches, nausea or pains in the chest and
these will often be mistaken for signs of ‘flu. As well as about 30 deaths in
the UK alone from this silent killer, there are around 200 other serious
incidents involving carbon monoxide and probably hundreds of other ‘near
misses' each year.

Sometimes dangerous carbon monoxide levels have only been discovered when blood
tests have been carried out on pets that have been taken ill. The winter has
been relatively mild so far, but as the weather gets colder people will use
their heating systems more, if they have not had appliances serviced yet this
year, they should make arrangements now to have the work done ­ it could save
lives.

Such cases are caused by faulty or badly-serviced gas and other
fossil-fuel-burning appliances and systems. Carbon monoxide (sometimes referred
to by its chemical symbols CO) is known as the silent killer because you can't
see it, hear it, smell it or taste it. With a potentially cold winter ahead,
there are fears of more deaths resulting from poorly maintained heating
systems.

Reduce the risk of being poisoned by the deadly gas carbon monoxide, with these
simple tips. Carbon monoxide can be given off by all fossil fuels. You need to
look out for:

  • Boiler pilot light flames burning orange, instead of blue
  • Sooty stains on or near appliances
  • Excessive condensation in the room
  • Coal or wood fires that burn slowly or go out
  • Families suffering prolonged flu-like symptoms




More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents