SA HEALTH has issued a carbon monoxide poisoning warning relating to various types of heaters, as the winter chills hit – including gas, kerosene, and wood fired.
SA Health Director Public Health Services, Dr Kevin Buckett, said there have been 25 cases requiring hospital admission over the past year including a family in Lobethal who were poisoned by carbon monoxide (CO) produced by a combustion fire.
The 25 cases so far in 2015-16 compares to 28 cases in 2014-15.
“Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect because it has no smell, taste or colour, meaning you can inhale it without realising and even die from it,” Dr Buckett said.
“Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include persistent tiredness, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, vomiting and loss of consciousness.
“Those most vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning are babies and young children, pregnant women, the elderly and immobile and those with respiratory problems.
“Poorly maintained gas heaters emit not only carbon monoxide but other pollutants that may cause respiratory infections, exacerbate asthma symptoms and increase coughing and wheezing in children.
“It is important that if you start to feel the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning that you go outside into fresh air and seek medical assistance as soon as possible, including a blood test for CO.”
Metropolitan Fire Service’s Phil Kilsby said good ventilation is vital prevent harmful or potentially fatal carbon monoxide incidents.
“People should ensure that adequate fresh air is available for appliance combustion and the occupants breathing in the room,” Mr Kilsby said.
“Gas and kerosene heaters must be vented adequately and charcoal braziers, often used for cooking, must be used outside in a well ventilated area as they produce carbon monoxide when burning.
“Never use gas fuelled patio and outdoor heaters indoors. If the outdoor area is enclosed by pull down blinds, you must also ensure adequate ventilation to avoid the build-up of carbon monoxide.”
Rob Faunt from the Office of the Technical Regulator said maintenance is critical to avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“People should ensure all gas appliances are serviced by a licensed gasfitter at the manufacturer recommended service intervals or at least once every two years,” Mr Faunt said.
“It is recommended that the appliance is checked for correct installation and that it is not adversely affected by any mechanical air movement systems, such as ventilation or exhaust fans or air conditioning distribution systems.”
So take the carbon monoxide poisoning warning, and have a Sharpe technician install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm. Please contact us to discuss the correct product to suit your home.