Carbon Monoxide poisoning should be a problem of the past but today people are still dying from accidental acute CO poisoning and many more are injured from sub-lethal poinsonings.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is doing all it can to highlight the needless deaths and unnecessary injury as part of this week’s awareness week.
Director of public health Dr Linda de Caestecker wants people to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and its causes which are the result of inadequate installation or maintenance of carbon monoxide products or insufficient ventilation.
She said: “There are approximately two accidental deaths from acute CO poisoning in Scotland every year and around 135 people who have been diagnosed with ‘toxic effect of carbon monoxide’.
“This is of great concern to us and working with partner agencies including the Health Protection Agency and the Health and Safety Executive we think it is important that people can recognise the symptoms of CO poisoning and seek help sooner rather than later.
“CO poisoning can be lethal but deaths and accidental poisonings can be be prevented through greater public awareness.”
Notes to Editors
Signs and Symptoms
Headache 90% of cases
Nausea and vomiting 50% of cases
Vertigo 50% of cases
Alteration in consciousness 30% of cases
Subjective weakness 20% of cases
While chronic exposure to lower CO concentrations may lead to the symptoms and signs of influenza or food poisoning, exposure to high concentrations of CO leads to collapse and death within minutes.
Clues to the diagnosis
The following are suggestive of domestic CO poisoning:
• More than one person in the house affected;
• Symptoms disappear when away from the house, e.g. on holiday, or at work but recur on returning home;
• Symptoms related to cooking: stove in use; and
• Symptoms worse in winter: heating in use.
The following signs may be recognised in the home:
• Black sooty staining on or around an appliance (e.g. a stoves, boilers or fires), such as on the walls;
• Smoke or excessive condensation accumulating in rooms due to faulty flues: though you cannot smell CO, you can often smell other combustion products;
• Yellow or orange, instead of blue, flames from gas appliances or boiler pilot lights.
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