The dangers of carbon monoxide should be taken seriously by the general public. If it is inhaled, its affects can be so catastrophic that it can even lead to death. You can be at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning anywhere, whether that be at home or at work. Its particular qualities make it more dangerous and harder to detect, as it is odourless and invisible. It takes one faulty appliance for all hell to break loose. Once it has been breathed in, it replaces the oxygen in the blood, killing off cells and starving vital organs of oxygen.
Many reports have indicated that some 20 million households in the UK are not protecting themselves by taking necessary precautions to detect the gas. Some of the early symptoms to look out for are feelings of nausea, dizziness, headaches, and forgetfulness. The general nature of these symptoms suggest that they can be easily missed or misinterpreted. This is even more so when the person affected moves out of their environment and their symptoms clear.
What can be done?
If you don’t take enough vigilance and care, the risks of suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning can be higher. However, there are steps you can take to be better prepared and to reduce the risk of exposure. Once you prepare yourself, you will be in a better position to deal with any emergency that arises.
If you are about to go on vacation. it is a good idea to call up and check if there are any gas appliances where you are staying. It is better to be safe rather than regret it later. Remember, if you find out that there is a gas heater at your location, you always have the option to be asked to move somewhere else. If you wish to be extra precautious, it is good to take a carbon monoxide detector.
How to deal with an emergency
One of the most important things is to know what to do and who to call in an emergency case of carbon monoxide poisoning. If the appliance you were using starts leaking gas, stop using it immediately and get everyone away from the area as soon as possible. Never use the appliance again until you have had it checked over by a professional registered engineer.
It is important to get plenty of ventilation into the area, so you should open all the windows and doors. If someone you know has been affected by the carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important that you remove them from the contaminated area straight away and take them into the open air. Oxygen should be supplied if there is some available. Make sure you call for medical help and ensure the person affected rests.
Once the person starts receiving medical care, it is important that you notify the health professional that carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected so that the correct treatment is provided. If you have gas appliances in the property, make sure you do not smoke or turn any light switches on or off. Don’t do anything to create a spark.
Tal Potishman, editor of Heating Central, writes articles about boilers, central heating, Farnborough plumbers, underfloor heating and solar thermal. He specializes in helping save money by advising on efficient heating.