CO cases on the rise

CO cases on the rise

Shocking new data has revealed that cases of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning (also known as the silent killer) are rising, despite the efforts of campaigners to encourage people to protect themselves with an alarm.

Recent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests have shown nearly a 10% rise in recorded incidents of suspected CO poisoning at NHS Trusts across the UK, with the young and elderly most effected. Worryingly, cases of CO poisoning in children were up by 20% and cases amongst the over 60s had increased by 17%.

The data obtained by Project SHOUT, a campaign group designed to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide, measured recorded cases year-on-year from July 2014 to June 2016.

The total number of incidents topped 2,430 in 2015/16 (compared to 2,220 the previous year), with an average of six people attending A&E every single day with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. With a lack of understanding around the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, and its similarity to the symptoms of flu, these figures could be conservative.

Rob Lyon, Campaign Director for Project SHOUT, said: “These numbers are very concerning, particularly the rise in cases amongst the most vulnerable, namely children and the elderly. Carbon monoxide poisoning can only be detected by an alarm as you can’t see, smell or taste it. Children and older people are particularly at risk because their bodies are more susceptible and in the case of some older people, are less likely to keep their appliances serviced.”

In October 2015, legislation came into force that required private landlords to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in every property that had a solid fuel burning appliance, such as an open fire or log burner. The legislation however does not cover gas appliances such as a gas boiler or gas hob.

Approximately 50 people die each year from CO poisoning, all of which can be prevented by fitting an alarm.

For more information on the dangers of carbon and the solutions available, visit:

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