How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is extremely dangerous. It can also be impossible to detect without the use of a carbon monoxide alarm due to the fact is not only colourless but tasteless and odourless too. Once carbon monoxide gets into our bloodstream, it binds to haemoglobin to form carboxyhaemoglobin. It can then deplete our blood of oxygen and cause the death of cells in our bodies.

You may feel unwell if you exposed to lower levels of carbon monoxide, but you can die if substantial exposure occurs. Around 50 people in the UK die each year due to home carbon monoxide poisoning.

What causes carbon monoxide exposure?

If fuels that contain carbon like gas, wood, coal and oil fail to combust properly, carbon monoxide is produced. Incomplete combustion is often linked to faulty boilers, cookers, water heaters central heating systems and gas fires. Poor installation, maintenance and ventilation can result in carbon monoxide exposure, as can blocked chimneys and flues. Household products like paint removers and cleaning fluids include methylene chloride. If these are inhaled, carbon monoxide poisoning can occur.

Symptoms of low-level poisoning

If you have low-level carbon monoxide poisoning, you may get a tension headache, feel sick, dizzy, tired or confused. Stomach pain, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties are also linked to low-level carbon monoxide poisoning. The more you are exposed to carbon monoxide, the worse your symptoms are likely to become.

Symptoms of high-level carbon monoxide poisoning

People with high-level carbon monoxide poisoning may suffer loss of memory, vision, balance and even consciousness. They may also experience ataxia, which is the loss of co-ordination resulting from brain and nervous system damage. They may also experience chest pain and seizures.

Are some people at more risk than others?

Carbon monoxide can kill anyone, but people with existing respiratory and heart problems are particularly vulnerable, as are pregnant women, babies and young children. Unborn babies and pets can also be affected.

What can I do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

To reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning, you should have any appliances that burn fuel checked at least once a year. Your chimneys and flues need to be swept annually, and you need to get carbon monoxide detectors fitted if they aren’t already. These will also need regular servicing to ensure they are working properly.

What should I do if my carbon monoxide alarm goes off?

If this does occur, stop using all your appliances immediately. Open all your windows and doors before exiting your property. You’ll also need to seek out immediate medical assistance. You should either call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 or 0800 300 363 to reach the (HSE)Gas Safety Advice Line.

Contact Ability today

If you need help with avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning and suspect your home isn’t as safe as it should be, contact Ability today. You can reach us via the form on the website, by calling us on 01892 514495 or by sending a message to

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