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Carbon monoxide: Are you at risk?

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    Department of Health
  • Published date:
    13 November 2008
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Accidental exposure to carbon monoxide kills more than 50 people each year in England and Wales. It is a poisonous gas that you can’t see, taste or smell and is released when a carbon-containing fuel – such as gas, oil, coal, coke, petrol or wood – doesn’t burn fully because there is not enough air available. Incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated room or water heaters, fires or cookers, are the main sources.

Headaches, tiredness, difficulty thinking clearly and feeling sick are common symptoms. Young people’s academic work may deteriorate. If you suffer from these symptoms and think they could be caused by carbon monoxide, turn of all your cooking and room- or water- heating appliances that use fuel other than electricity. Open the windows in the room and other parts of your home to let in fresh air and move outside. See a doctor at once and call a suitably qualified engineer to check all your cooking and room- or water- heating appliances.

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