With winter upon us our use of fuel for heating increases and that means a correspondingly higher level of risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. CO is an odourless, colourless, non-irritant gas and the most common cause of fatal poisoning in the UK with around 40 people each year being killed by it and hundreds more made seriously ill, caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning boilers, heaters and other appliances.
Infants, elderly people, unborn babies and people with anaemia or with a history of heart or respiratory disease can be especially susceptible. Symptoms of CO poisoning may include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness and confusion.
An excellent new video has been made by the Department of Health (DoH) that explains what carbon monoxide poisoning is and the steps you can take to prevent it occuring in your household. Presented by Professor Robert Maynard, it’s well worth watching.