Think carbon monoxide

By Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that leads to around 50 deaths each year. As winter approaches we can all prevent these avoidable tragedies by making sure that gas, solid fuel and oil burning appliances such as boilers, heaters and cookers are serviced by an appropriately registered engineer and by fitting an audible carbon monoxide alarm.

4,000 people go to A&E each year because of the poisoning from this dangerous invisible gas. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are very similar to those of flu and food poisoning including persistent headaches, sickness and tiredness.

As temperatures begin to drop and we turn up the heating, we should all be vigilant and make sure flues and chimneys are swept and checked for blockages and that rooms are well ventilated to allow appliances to work properly.

So if you start to feel unwell: Think carbon monoxide – consult your GP or speak to NHS Direct by calling 0845 4647 as quickly as you can.

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