This is a sobering read that I found at the chemistry.about.com website.
How Carbon Monoxide Kills You:
When you breathe in carbon monoxide, it enters your lungs and binds to the hemoglobin in your red blood cells. The problem is that hemoglobin binds to carbon monoxide over oxygen, so as the level of carbon monoxide increases, the amount of oxygen your blood carries to your cells decreases. This leads to oxygen starvation or hypoxia.
At low concentrations, the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning resemble the flu: headache, nausea, fatigue. Continued exposure or higher concentrations can lead to confusion, dizziness, weakness, drowsiness, severe headache, and fainting. If the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, carbon monoxide exposure can lead to unconsciousness, coma, permanent brain damage, and death. The effects can become deadly within minutes, but long-term low-level exposure is not uncommon and leads to organ damage, disease, and a slower death.
Infants, children, and pets are more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide than adults, so they are at greater risk for poisoning and death. Long term exposure can lead to neurological and circulatory system damage, even when the levels aren’t high enough to produce a significant effect in adults.
For the full document click here if you can bear to read more.
Now you may wonder why on earth I found myself on a chemistry website reading how this perfect killer can actually kill you. The reason was a troubling story from my parents that although having a silver lining was still a scary wake up type of call. They are blessed with the joy of living in a place where an open working fireplace is allowed. They enjoy and while their long dark cold winter nights away by snuggling up to a real fire and staring at the dance of the flames, mesmerising as they can be. However unbeknown to them some local birdlife had decided that the chimney pot on my parents’ roof looked like the ideal spot to build their dream nest. This set up the scenario for the potential murder of my parents. It was only by the sheer luck of my sister happening to choose that particular moment to visit my parents. She knocked politely as you do, no response, so ventured inside to find my parents asleep and unresponsive, hit the panic button! Doctors, hospitals and sometime later they are ok, thankfully, but that story was way, way to close for comfort.
Carbon Monoxide is scary stuff, so it is important for every home to have their own CO detector.
There are several warning signs in your home that could mean you have a carbon monoxide issue. Here are a few things to look out for:
- The flame on your cooker should be crisp and blue. Yellow or orange flames mean you need to get your cooker checked
- Dark staining around or on appliances
- Sooty marks on the walls around boilers, stoves or the cover of gas fires
- Pilot lights that frequently go out
- Increased condensation inside windows
If you want to know more about Carbon Monoxide and how to effectively protect your home please visit Corgi HomePlan.
Carbon Monoxide gas is a colourless and odourless silent killer.
Protect yourself and your family now.