Winter is the time when most carbon monoxide poisonings occur, but BBQs and open fires in the summer are also a danger.
By taking action you can protect you and your family against this toxic gas that kills approximately 40 people per year in the UK and injures thousands.
These avoidable tragedies can be prevented by making sure that gas, coal and other fossil fuel and wood-burning heating and cooking appliances are properly installed and maintained and by fitting an audible carbon monoxide alarm. As temperatures drop and the heating is turned up it is important to check that appliances are working properly and that flues and chimneys are not blocked.
When it comes to open fires and barbeques, you should not use, light or take smouldering or used barbecues inside tents, caravans or other enclosed spaces such as awnings because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Even used barbecues, which may be cold to the touch have the potential to give off the deadly gas.
Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect because it has no smell, taste or colour. This means you can inhale it without realising.
Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal or wood do not burn fully. When a fire burns in an enclosed space, such as a room, the oxygen is gradually used up and replaced with carbon dioxide. The fuel is unable to burn fully and releases carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is difficult to spot as the symptoms are very similar to those for flu and food poisoning including persistent headaches, sickness and tiredness. However, unlike flu, carbon monoxide poisoning does not cause a high temperature (fever).
The links on this page give you all the information you need to protect yourself against carbon monoxide poisoning.
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Advice on keeping warm this winter
Keeping your home warm efficiently
Advice on coping with winter illnesses
Cold weather can lead to an increase in associated health problems. Age UK offer some helpful advice.
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