Think CO – Promoting Carbon Monoxide Awareness
The ‘Think CO’ campaign aims to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Each year about 40 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning and 2,000 people end up in A&E departments.
What to look out for
The first thing to say is that If you are getting your gas boiler serviced annually, by a Gas Safe Registered engineer, you are taking the best precaution you can and it is very unlikely you are at risk. But it is still useful to know about the signs so you are more aware and can help your friends, family and neighbours.
Signs in your home include:
- Yellow or orange lazy flames (instead of only blue) on your oven or fire
- Sooty marks around your fire or cooker
- Excessive condensation on your windows and walls
- Signs of scorching around fires
- Pilot light that keeps going out
How are you feeling?
You might have some of the symptoms below, or perhaps your neighbour, family member or friend has described something similar to you.
- A common first symptom is being unusually tired for you
- Symptoms are similar to flu and food poisoning and seem to last a long time
- Persistent headaches, nausea, drowsiness and breathlessness when in your home
- But you feel better when you are not at home and the symptoms return when you get back
- You feel worse during the cold months (when the heating is on and windows are closed)
- Other family members, visitors or pets suffer similar symptoms when in your house
What to do if you are worried?
The best thing to do is to get your boiler checked by a Gas Safe Registered engineer, at least once a year. You can also buy a Carbon Monoxide detector from a local DIY store for about £20. Make sure it has BS EN 50291 on the box. Also avoid blocking up any ventilation points in your house, even when it is cold.
And remember, it’s not just natural gas appliances (cookers, fires, boilers) that can be affected. Coal, calor gas, barbeques and wood burning appliances can also produce carbon monoxide. It is important to note it is not just a possible issue in your home. Leisure activities like caravanning, camping (with a barbeque) and boats that use gas heating or diesel motors can bring CO risks as well.