TV soap Coronation Street tackles CO poisoning

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This summer has seen some tragic cases of holidaymakers losing their lives through lack of awareness of the harmful effects of carbon monoxide (CO) emitted from cooking equipment and badly maintained boilers.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Several tragedies involved the use of camping stoves and BBQs near tents, which can soon fill with CO gas emitted during the process of cooking near an open tent or mobile home.

ITV soap Coronation Street is also tackling the issues by running a storyline involving character Fiz Brown – played by Jenny McAlpine – who falls into a coma after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty gas boiler.

CO gas – carbon monoxide – is dubbed the silent killer because it is odourless. Symptoms of CO poisoning can take hold after only two to three hours of exposure to CO, and the first signs are headache, feeling drowsy, confusion, dizziness and nausea.

In an atmosphere heavily poisoned with CO, an individual may lose consciousness and could die. Struggling to breathe can lead to an abnormal increase in heart rate – a condition known as tachycardia – as the lungs fill with CO and cease to function.

Being aware of the causes of CO poisoning can help keep holidaymakers and campers safe.

Homeowners are also at risk from CO poisoning – the first indication is often a black edge to the ceiling and heavy condensation, as well as feeling tired all the time.

Some of the common causes of CO poisoning include:

  • Barbecues used indoors, in garages or near tents or mobile homes
  • Blocked chimneys
  • Boilers or kitchens not properly installed
  • Car exhaust fumes if a car engine is left running
  • Cracked or split pipes on a furnace or boiler
  • Gas or kerosene heaters
  • Gas or wood burning fires
  • Gas cookers not maintained

Cooking also generally leads to an increase in CO in the atmosphere, so keeping rooms well ventilated during cooking is a good idea.

The best way to avoid Carbon monoxide poisoning, however, is to buy a carbon monoxide detector and test the batteries regularly.

If you are renting a holiday home or self-catering flat, pack a CO detector in your luggage – it might just save your life.


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