There are many dangers associated with carbon monoxide, some of which are short term problems and some of which can be permanently damaging or even fatal. Carbon monoxide poisoning can come about through a number of sources, and these can be everyday items and appliances used within the home or at work. Once carbon monoxide has been breathed in, it replaces the oxygen in the blood, thus killing off cells and starving vital organs of oxygen. One of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning is death. A large enough dose of this odourless, colourless and tasteless gas can kill within minutes. In fact, people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning without ever knowing what hit them. They simply slip in to unconsciousness and never come around, or they may already be asleep when they breathe in the carbon monoxide and simply never wake up again.
Smaller doses of carbon monoxide poisoning can cause a range of symptoms and problems, and depending on how often the CO is breathed in and at what levels, can cause both short term and long term damage. Once of the dangers associated with the short term symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning is the non-specific nature of the symptoms, which can often resemble flu.
This means that the sufferer can often go on breathing in carbon monoxide, which can then lead to either long term or permanent damage, or death.
The long term dangers associated with carbon monoxide can be devastating and can affect the rest of your life. Carbon monoxide can result in brain damage, heart problems, major organ dysfunction, memory or cognitive problems, behavioural and personality changes and a range of other permanent problems.
The dangers of carbon monoxide can arise both in the home and the work environment, and many people are affected by these dangers simply through lack of knowledge and vigilance. There are many ways in which you can reduce the risks of carbon monoxide exposure, but these dangers often get the better of people who have no idea what the signs are, how to aid prevention, how to treat symptoms and what the causes of the carbon monoxide pollution are.
Carbon monoxide is a silent and deadly danger, and takes thousands of lives all around the world each year. The sad thing is that many carbon monoxide related deaths could have been avoided with some basic precautions and a little vigilance.
However, the fact that this gas is practically undetectable to the general public, along with the fact that the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are so non-specific can contribute to the level of danger that this gas carries.
How to prevent carbon Monoxide poisoning
The easiest way to have early warning of a carbon monoxide leak is to install a carbon monoxide detector.
Carbon monoxide detectors come in various forms but look a bit like a smoke alarm, and can be fitted to the wall or be freestanding.
Where to put a carbon monoxide detector
Which? recommends placing a carbon monoxide detector in each room that has a potential source of carbon monoxide.
In most homes, this will be where the boiler is located. The detector should be placed: At least one metre away from boilers, cookers and fires At least 15cm from the ceiling . Not directly above a source of heat or steam
If you choose a free-standing detector it can also be taken with you when you go on holiday.
What other checks can you do?
Aside from having carbon monoxide detectors, there are some other checks you can do which might reveal a potential leak.
Look at the pilot light on your boiler. If everything’s fine this should burn blue, but if it’s yellow or orange then you should call a professional.
If you see any stains or soot around appliances or fires then be sure to get them checked immediately. Check for smoke build‐up in rooms that have working fireplaces and chimneys.
If you suspect you have a carbon monoxide leak then you should leave your home immediately before calling a professional in for help.