Knowsley Older People's Voice

Carbon Monoxide – protect yourself

With the colder weather approaching, cure we are all likely to be switching on our central heating, discount viagra fires, and other appliances more frequently and for longer. The fuels that we burn, such as gas, oil, wood and coal are usually safe to use, but in certain conditions excess Carbon Monoxide (CO) can be produced.

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen or smelt. People who are exposed to CO may experience headaches, dizziness, nausea (feeling sick) and tiredness. High concentrations can cause people to become confused or collapse. According to the Department of Health, 50 people die each year from CO poisoning and another 4,000 are treated in hospital. However, the numbers may be higher than this as the early symptoms can easily be mistaken for flu or tiredness.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • If you are suffering from any of the symptoms highlighted above turn off the appliance, move away to a well-ventilated area and open your windows. You should start to feel better, but if you don’t , call NHS 111Service, or 999 in an emergency
  • Make sure you have heating system or gas fire serviced every year. This is the responsibility of your landlord if you rent your home, but your responsibility if you are a home owner
  • If you burn coal or wood, make sure your chimney is swept regularly
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm – this is best placed in a sleeping area (see below about obtaining a carbon monoxide detector)

Obtaining a Carbon Monoxide detector

There are a number of ways that older people in Knowsley can obtain a CO detector:

If you already have a Lifeline monitoring system (often with a pendant worn around your neck) you can obtain a CO detector that works with your Lifeline unit. This will activate a call to the monitoring centre if high levels of CO are detected in your home, and will add just an additional 33p per week to the existing cost of the unit.

Care & Repair Knowsley currently have a supply of CO detectors for issue to the most vulnerable. These are provided through the Dying to Keep Warm initiative. Telephone (0151) 548 6668.

CO detectors are available to buy from DIY outlets, hardware stores, and supermarkets. These cost from about £10 depending on the make and model – a small price to pay to protect ourselves from this potential hazard.

For more information go to the HSE website.

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