Carbon monoxide is a very real threat and it is known as ‘the silent killer’ for good reason. Odourless, tasteless and invisible, it can cause a multitude of health problems and, in the worst cases, can even lead to death. The issue becomes even more pressing when the gas is enclosed in a small space such as a caravan.
Here are some important facts about carbon monoxide:
Carbon monoxide is responsible for at least 40 deaths in England and Wales each year, according to figures published by the Chief Medical Officer. All of these deaths were preventable had a carbon monoxide detector been present.
Around 4,000 people are admitted to hospital through an attendance at a casualty department each year in England alone due to poisoning from carbon monoxide
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can take some time to become noticed. The gas is often present in small but significant amounts, building up gradually in a person’s system. The headaches, disorientation and sickness that follow are often attributed to other causes, while the poisoning continues.
Children under 14 and adults over 65 are in the group at highest risk. These groups of people account for 31% and 25% respectively of all carbon monoxide poisoning cases.
Badly-serviced heating systems and appliances are the most common causes of carbon monoxide entering into a space. Make sure you get your appliances checked regularly. Any appliance that burns coal, oil or LPG gas can be the source.
The symptoms of CO poisoning vary in type and severity from person to person but common symptoms include confusion, headaches and sickness for no other apparent reason. CO poisoning can mimic the symptoms of flu and the common cold and it is for this reason that mny people do not report their ill health until major damage has been done.
The only way to protect yourself and your family from the deadly effects of carbon monoxide poisoning is with a quality detector and alarm. This will give a visual and audible signal if the ratio of carbon monoxide to air reaches a critical level.