Sunday, 21 April 2013

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent killer

In have read several stories on dailies and blogs about how Carbon monoxide inhalation has killed families in their sleep. After observing repeated recurrence of such tragic deaths, i think some of us needs to educated on this Silent Killer 'CARBON MONOXIDE' 

What is carbon monoxide?
CO, is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Appliances fueled with gas, oil, kerosene, or wood like Generators, Charcoal grills, Kerosene stoves, Water heaters, Automobiles run in closed garages, Fireplaces, Wood burning stoves, may produce CO. If such appliances are not used properly, it may lead to dangerous and deadly levels in cars, homes, or poorly ventilated areas. However, electrical heaters and electric water heaters, toasters, etc., do not produce CO under any circumstances.

Poorly vented appliances can produce high CO concentrations in your home or work like living putting off your kerosene when the doors are shut to leave no room for the smoke to go out or cooking with charcoal indoors, or running a car in a garage where the smoke has no escape route, or keeping your generators inappropriately that the smoke goes into the house instead of going outside; all these must always be used out of doors because of the vast amounts of poisonous carbon monoxide it produces otherwise, open windows and doors for cross ventilation.

Carbon monoxide(CO) exposures especially affect unborn babies, infants, and people with anemia or a history of heart disease. Breathing low levels of the chemical can cause fatigue and increase chest pain in people with chronic heart disease. Pregnant women especially should be wary of CO exposure.
Because CO gas has no warning properties, even at toxic or life threatening levels, it is considered a silent killer. Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill without warning, as a family sleeps so proper ventilation is always necessary.
Although not always experienced, the initial symptoms of CO are similar to the flu (but without the fever),gastric flu or stomach upset, like: dizziness, tiredness, headache, nausea, and difficulty in breathing.

CO can be prevented by proper appliance maintenance, installation, and use. All appliances should be installed by professionals and constant servicing of cars and appliances is needed. Kerosene and gas heaters (vented or unvented) should be cleaned and inspected to ensure proper operation.
Ensure the room where gas, kerosene or space heater is used is well ventilated; never use heater overnight in a room where you are sleeping; avoid using charcoal inside the home; don't leave vehicles running in an enclosed garage, do that in an open space.
No need to panic when your home or work appliances are kept in good working condition.


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