Warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
It’s important that you are aware of the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal and it is very hard to detect because it is a colourless, tasteless, odourless gas that is non-irritating. You can also take steps to help reduce any possible risk of exposure to the gas.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for other illnesses, such as food poisoning or flu. The symptoms can be similar to flu but without a raised temperature.
Please look out for these signs and symptoms and consider if carbon monoxide poisoning could be the cause:
- nausea and vomiting
- dizziness and lightheadedness
- flu-like symptoms
- palpitations (feeling your heart beat oddly)
- chest pain
- collapse without necessarily losing consciousness, followed by unconsciousness
You can find out more in the guide below:
If you think you might be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, you should:
- immediately turn off all appliances
- go outside
- seek medical help from a qualified healthcare professional
Carbon monoxide poisoning can also cause long-term health problems if you’re exposed to low doses over a long period of time.
- Find health services in your area (Health and well-being section)
- Your local doctor (GP) (Health and well-being section)
Appliances should not be used again until they have been serviced by a registered engineer.
- Domestic gas installation and health and safety (Property and housing section)
- Gas Safe Register (Property and housing section)
To minimise the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- install an audible carbon monoxide alarm that meets British or European standards (BS Kitemark or EN 50291). These cost as little as £20
- regularly get your appliances serviced
- sweep chimneys and flues every year if you use solid fuel
- if you are in rented accommodation ask your landlord to provide you with an up-to-date gas safety record. This is a requirement by law and is particularly important for students renting houses and flats
- keep flues, air vents and grilles clear and ensure rooms are well ventilated
Carbon monoxide poisoning can affect anyone. However, children, students, the elderly, pregnant women and anyone with heart or breathing problems are more vulnerable to its effects.