When it comes to deadly gases, carbon monoxide is one of the most dangerous. Why? For one thing, it has no taste or smell. Therefore, people without carbon monoxide detectors often live with exposure for some time before seeking help or identifying the problem. Over the years, it has become clear that a detector is the best way to identify carbon monoxide either at home or within a business space. In high levels, carbon monoxide has the potential to kill humans. If you didn’t take the issue seriously before, this is likely to prompt you into action.
Table of Contents
Common Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide
What symptoms are you likely to experience after exposure to carbon monoxide? During low-level exposure, you might suffer from the following:
- Feeling of sickness
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pain
As exposure increases, you might experience vomiting, chest pain or tightness, or an upset stomach; those exposed to carbon monoxide often mention flu-like symptoms. Therefore, patients initially put the signs down to general illness and tiredness.
When you breathe in large amounts of carbon monoxide, this is where the risk of passing out or even dying is high.
The Effect of Carbon Monoxide on the Body
If you’re wondering how these symptoms occur after exposure to carbon monoxide, the gas starts by entering the bloodstream. In our blood, we have red blood cells constantly transporting oxygen around the body – this is called haemoglobin. As the carbon monoxide mixes with the haemoglobin, this creates what’s called carboxyhaemoglobin.
Once the body contains this dangerous chemical, the blood struggles to transport oxygen around the body, and we develop shortages. The more deficiencies, the more tissues and cells die. In severe cases, this is why people lose consciousness and even pass away.
Spotting Carbon Monoxide Exposure
Unfortunately, nobody gets a free pass when it comes to carbon monoxide. Nobody of a particular age, for example, is immune to the effects of carbon monoxide because it attacks everybody in the same way. Those more vulnerable than others include people with pre-existing breathing issues, chronic heart disease, and anaemia. Also, those who are sleeping or drunk can die without first experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms.
As mentioned, there is a link between carbon monoxide symptoms and flu symptoms. To differentiate between the two, it’s important to note that carbon monoxide doesn’t lead to high temperatures while the flu does. If you have flu-like symptoms without a temperature, this could be a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, flu symptoms gradually peak while carbon monoxide symptoms continually worsen before requiring medical attention. Elsewhere, you might notice that the symptoms disappear when you leave home (or the affected area).
Protecting Yourself from it
While most people experience mild symptoms with carbon monoxide poisoning, the threat of something more serious is very real. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to minimise the risk.
- Visit (extrordinair.com.au), purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and check that your workplace has one fitted. Carbon monoxide is a by-product of fumes generated by lanterns, stoves, fireplaces, cars, small engines, furnaces, and more. It’s best to install a protector and be aware of hazards before they cause an issue.
- Always go outdoors to use a portable flameless chemical heater.
- Get a qualified and trained technician to check your water heater, heating, and other appliances each year.
- Check and clean your chimney yearly – ensure all appliances are adequately vented too.
Don’t use an oven to heat your home, and don’t burn charcoal indoors either.