What is Carbon Monoxide

Basically, Carbon Monoxide is a tasteless, odourless gas which is highly toxic to both humans and animals. What makes it lethal is the fact that it can’t be perceived by our senses, making it one of the stealthiest “killers” around. Smaller concentrations won’t substantially hinder your health, but even moderately-concentrated mass of CO poses a serious health hazard.

The concentration of CO is measured in ppm, as in “parts per notation” — the highest non-lethal concentration of CO measures 35 ppm, but the symptoms and signs usually start to show even when the mass of CO is smaller than that.

Gas Safety Awareness — Know more about Carbon Monoxide

What are the signs?

In essence, the signs of carbon monoxide are very difficult to spot, primarily due to the fact that this gas is colourless and odourless. Most people are breathing it even though they aren’t aware of it, so we’re here to provide the much-needed information about CO regarding the topic of “Carbon Monoxide Emitters in Homes”.

First of all, most modern homes have furnace systems or chimneys — as we know, burnt log woods “produce” highly concentrated masses of CO, but it’s a good thing that this mass will be propelled upward, away from you and your home’s residents. The bad thing is a leaking furnace system (or a leaking chimney) — but a simple crack will suffice to provide a regular infill of CO, which is undoubtedly very dangerous.

On the other hand, Kerosene heaters, gas ranges, and all kinds of wood-burning fireplaces or stoves, as well as gas-fueled heaters, gasoline-powered appliances, and unvented fireplaces might lead you into a similar predicament.

Lastly, cigarette smoke is widely known to be unhealthy — the reason for this is because this “smoke” contains small doses of CO. What’s really bad about this is the fact that cigarette smoke lingers for months — it enters the walls, carpentry, even furniture and bedding. Basically, smokers “surround” themselves with CO everyday — both themselves and their housemates.

What are the symptoms?

There are numerous symptoms of CO poisoning, most of which are not so obvious — for instance, you might attribute your dizziness to the lack of sleep, or stomach pain to eating something stale. That being said, there are all kinds of things that can lead you to the conclusion that you’ve suffered from CO poisoning, such are:

  • Dizziness at earliest stages, heavy drowsiness if the poisoning is severe (or at least if the poisoning has developed)
  • From plain stomach ache early on to nausea and vomiting
  • Tiredness for no apparent reason, even confusion at times
  • Shortage of breath, laboured breathing, and all sorts of breathing impairments

What to do when you suspect CO?

Generally, it’s better to be safe than sorry — check your appliances regularly and stop smoking. If you’ve already suffered from CO poisoning and are unable to reach the doctor, it’s imperative that you counter the symptoms you are experiencing.

If you are feeling drowsy, don’t sleep, but instead call for help, if you are feeling nauseous, don’t eat or drink until the CO is out of your system. Ultimately, leave the place where you started experiencing the symptoms mentioned above and call for an ambulance straight away.

To ease your mind check you gas connection provider and ask them a question. Easy to fit inexpensive carbon monoxide detectors are readily available to install in your home too.

Read next article: New Gas Connection — Starter Guide

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