– Carbon monoxide poisoning: a toxic gas
– Carbon monoxide poisoning: what to do
– Carbon monoxide poisoning: simple prevention
Cases of intoxication are frequent and can be of different kinds: poisoning, gas poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning.
Caution: in case of carbon monoxide poisoning, you should not hesitate to call the emergency services as soon as possible.
Carbon monoxide poisoning: a toxic gas
Carbon monoxide is a gas produced by the combination of carbon and oxygen (CO). It is produced by the combustion of organic substances such as coal or wood. It does not emit any odour and is not detectable, but it is very toxic, which increases its dangerousness.
When inhaled, it binds to hemoglobin and spreads rapidly through the body.
It gradually causes asphyxiation which, if not treated in time, can be fatal.
Good to know: its emission is caused by defective and often poorly maintained heating appliances (wood stoves, boilers, water heaters, ovens, etc.). The presence of carbon monoxide results from incomplete combustion (regardless of the fuel used).
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
This type of gas is not detected by people who inhale it and unknowingly suffer progressive intoxication.
However, there are warning signs that may alert you to the presence of this gas: headaches, altered consciousness, dizziness, tachycardia, fatigue, nausea.
What to do about carbon monoxide poisoning
The association of these clinical signs with the presence of any of the above-mentioned devices must immediately lead to a causal relationship.
In a case of intoxication:
– Switch off the power supply to the device concerned.
– Ventilate the room and, if possible, leave the room immediately.
– Notify the emergency services.
– If the victim is conscious, stay with him/her (bring him/her near a window to facilitate oxygenation) until help arrives.
– If the victim is unconscious, check his vital signs (breathing, pulse).
– If the victim is breathing, place him/her in the side safety position.
Tip: If the victim is not breathing, perform CPR if you are trained to do so, otherwise wait until help arrives.
Carbon monoxide poisoning: simple prevention
In order to prevent this type of accident, simple measures need to be put in place.
First of all, maintain your heating and hot water appliance regularly and have it serviced at least once a year by a professional.
Similarly, have your flue pipes serviced by a professional.
Remember to regularly ventilate the rooms in your house and ensure that your home is properly ventilated (do not block the air vents).
Scrupulously follow the operating instructions for your heating appliances (for example, an auxiliary heater must not be turned on continuously).
Do not use unsuitable appliances for heating (stove, barbecue, etc.)!
Finally, if you reside in Melbourne, do not hesitate to give CONTACT PLUMBING & GAS a call for their reliable carbon monoxide tests. Stay safe!