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Do you know the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

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CO is a colourless, odourless and tasteless poisonous gas which is produced when fuel does not burn properly. It leaks from boilers, gas appliances or flues that have not been properly installed or maintained.

According to the HSE, four people died and 117 fell ill as a result of CO poisoning at home in the year to June 2010. Seventeen people died and 86 became ill the previous year. But 5 live Investigates has seen research by the Gas Safety Trust charity, which suggests the true figure may be much higher.

The following are symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

Loss of consciousness

The above symptoms could relate to other health problems but it is important to be aware of the possibility of CO poisoning and to get your appliance checked as recommended by your supplier.

In a statement the chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies told 5 live Investigates that recognising CO poisoning was not easy because the symptoms were similar to many other conditions.

She said the Department of Health was working to get better estimates of the number of non-fatal poisonings.

Landlords are required by law to have appliances inspected annually by a qualified engineer, but it is down to the tenant to check the tests have been done. In many types of private rented accommodation, no statutory body will carry out checks unless a complaint is made or an incident is reported.

Campaigners say the law should be strengthened to include a service of the appliances, as well as a check.

They also want landlords to be forced to fit carbon monoxide detectors in properties.

A carbon monoxide detector is a cheap and easy way to avoid the consequences of this silent killer. Please remember to test and change batteries as recommended!

Patricia Wakeford

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