Known as the silent killer, carbon monoxide is tasteless and colourless and can often go undetected, yet it is responsible for 200 admissions to hospital in the UK every year. We caught up with Dr Thomas at Pen Y Bont Health’s Pencoed surgery to find out what to look out for and how to take steps to protect yourself and others whilst the temperatures drop this Winter.
Everything you need to know about Carbon Monoxide and how to protect your family
Question: How can you prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?
Dr Thomas: There are several things you should do on a regular basis including..
• Maintaining and servicing appliances (boilers, cookers, heating systems, and appliances must be installed correctly and serviced regularly by registered engineers)
• Maintaining chimneys and flues (Make sure all chimneys and flues are swept regularly by a qualified sweep).
• Being careful with engine exhaust fumes (do not leave petrol lawn mowers running in the garage, get your car exhaust checked annually).
• Carbon Monoxide alarms (Get an alarm fitted in your home as this will alert you if there is a carbon monoxide leak).
Question: What do you do if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak?
• Stop using all appliances, switch them off and open doors/windows to ventilate area
• Evacuate the property immediately call the Gas emergency number on 0800111999 to report the incident
• Do not go back into the property until you get advice from the emergency services
• Seek immediate medical help
Question: Who is more vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning?
Dr Thomas: Everyone can suffer from it, but those more vulnerable are:
• Babies and young children
• Pregnant women
• People with chronic heart disease
• People with respiratory problems, such as asthma.
Question: What causes carbon monoxide to leak?
Dr Thomas: Carbon monoxide is created when fuels such as gas, oil, coal, and wood do not burn fully or the fumes ventilated properly. Burning coal, running cars and cigarette smoke can also produce carbon monoxide.
Remember if you think you have been exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide, go straight to our local Accident and Emergency Department.
For more information on carbon monoxide visit the NHS Website here.