Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning

Infographic offering stats about CO

Infographic offering stats about CO

This Gas Safety Week (September 18-24) Dr Ranj Singh is supporting Gas Safe Register to raise awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and its symptoms as a third (32%) of people would not recognise them, misdiagnosing symptoms for other illnesses.

CO poisoning is known as the ‘silent killer’ as it has no smell, taste or colour, and all the symptoms associated with CO poisoning can easily be mistaken for something else as today’s research shows.

Worryingly, nine per cent don’t know CO poisoning symptoms at all. These symptoms which include headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness, would be misdiagnosed by many as:

  • Concussion (37%)
  • Meningitis (36%)
  • A panic attack (27%)
  • A stroke (22%)
  • Flu (19%).

Gas Safe Register is urging people to learn the symptoms of potential CO poisoning, and what action to take if they suspect they or someone in their family may be suffering from it.

Dr Singh said: “You can’t see, taste or smell CO, so it’s really important that people become more aware of its poisoning symptoms. As Gas Safe Register’s research has found, many confuse CO poisoning for other illnesses such as flu, but CO poisoning can be fatal so it’s important that we raise awareness this Gas Safety Week so that families can take the right precautions and stay safe.”

Jonathan Samuel, chief executive of Gas Safe Register, said: “CO can leak from badly fitted or poorly maintained gas appliances. We recommend proactive prevention as the first line of defence against CO poisoning by getting your gas appliances checked every year by a Gas Safe Registered engineer to make sure they’re working safely and efficiently. To provide peace of mind, a CO alarm is a great second line of defence to alert you to a potential leak.”

Gas Safe Register recommends taking the following action if you suspect you might be suffering from CO poisoning:

  • Leave the house and get fresh air immediately
  • Open doors and windows
  • Turn off gas appliances
  • Call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999
  • See your doctor immediately or go to hospital

If suffering from CO poisoning, most people know to open the windows (68%), leave the house to get fresh air (74%), and contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to come and see if there’s a problem (42%).

Search #GSW17 on social media for more top tips on how to stay gas safe.

To find out about dangers in your area, visit: www.StayGasSafe.co.uk and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer, call: 0800 408 5500 or visit: www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk.