1. Mar, 2015

The silent killer that can strike while you sleep - and it isn't a sleep disorder.

It’s colourless, odourless and tasteless, and it can come from wood or gas stoves, gas heaters and various other fuels. It’s carbon monoxide, and it can kill you.

Do you have gas appliances in your home, particularly gas heating? Please have your appliances checked regularly and consider installing a carbon monoxide alarm. It could save your life.

 

Carbon monoxide is produced when carbon-containing fuels are burned. Sources include:

  • Gasoline
  • Diesel fuel
  • Kerosene
  • Propane
  • Natural gas
  • Wood
  • Charcoal
  • Fuel oil
  • Coal     

Important information from *the Chase and Tyler Foundation:

Danger Signs & Symptoms

Danger signs to look out for around gas and other fuel-burning appliances include:

  • Sooting, yellow or brown staining on or around your appliance, walls, ceiling or below the appliance.
  • Excessive condensation in the room where the appliance is installed.
  • Lazy yellow or orange coloured gas flame, rather than a sharp blue one note: gas log fires have yellow flames for a decorative effect.
  • Pilot lights that frequently blow out.
  • Peeling paint above appliance.
  • Sooting flecks on the ground and underneath appliance.

Symptoms

Knowing what to look out for is the first step in combating carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. They include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Visual problems
  • Pains in the chest or stomach
  • Disorientation
  • Erratic behaviour
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness

The majority of deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning are during sleep so you and your family may not experience any of these symptoms, you may just never wake up! 

How does carbon monoxide affect people?

Effects can vary greatly, depending on a person’s age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure. If inhaled at damaging levels, carbon monoxide can cause:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Impaired judgment and memory
  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Cardiac trauma
  • Brain damage
  • Coma
  • Death

Long-term effects caused by CO exposure

Luckily, effects produced by exposure to CO are generally reversible. However, extensive and significant overexposure can cause permanent damage, and is most likely to occur in the nervous system. These effects can include:

  • Loss of memory
  • Personality changes, such as increased irritability, mood changes etc
  • Mental deterioration
  • Learning disabilities
  • Instability when walking
  *In 2010, Chase and Tyler Robinson died in their sleep from carbon monoxide poisoning from an unserviced gas heater in their rental property. They were only eight and six years old.
 
For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning or if you would like to buy an alarm you can via the Chase and Tyler Robinson Foundation website.