Monday, September 25

The symptoms of the ‘invisible killer’ and how to prevent it, now that the cold arrives

It has been a year since Filomena devastated the peninsula and as Christmas ends a drastic drop in temperatures arrives, with nights below zero in more than half of Spain and the threat of the “invisible murderer” that always gives us annoyance, the fat ones.

And like every year, the cold can lead many to seek any resource to warm up, which can have serious health consequences. In some cases even cause deaths.

And it is that the systems Poorly controlled heating that runs on plant fuels, such as coal, wood or pellets, can cause poisoning by carbon monoxide (CO), better known as the “invisible killer”.

The problem with this gas is that it is odorless, it does not smell, colorless, it is not seen, and, above all, it is very toxic if you concentrate on the environment.

In fact, when you breathe it replaces oxygen in the blood, and without oxygen, cells die and organs stop working.

But the only way to know if the amount of monoxide is very high in a room and poses a danger is to recognize the symptoms and signs of the poisoning that it produces: general discomfort; difficulty breathing; headache; dizziness; sickness; vomiting; chest pain; mental confusion or loss of consciousness.

Unfortunately Every year there is some fatal accident caused by this “invisibkle killer”, so it is important to know how to react if we find any of the signs of intoxication that we have already seen.

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The first thing is quickly open all doors and windows to favor the entry of oxygen and the disappearance of carbon monoxide.

Second, or practically at the same time, you have to call emergency services. The doctors who attend 112 will give you all the necessary indications.

While health resources arrive, we must separate the intoxicated person from the source of the gaswhenever possible.

With care and whenever possible, the brazier, stove, or device in question will be taken outside of the house.

If the victim is not breathing, we will begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation until the paramedics arrive.

So, although the cold is tightening, the most important thing is to prevent this type of poisoning if we are going to use braziers, stoves or wood ovens, glories … How?

– The first ensuring ventilation in the room where we are going to turn on any of these heating devices.

– Do not install them in bedrooms and don’t sleep with them turned on.

Check regularly furnace or stove chimneys to make sure they work properly.

– You have to observe the color of the flame. The more blue the better the combustion.

– Do not cover gas-fired heat sources because it can block air circulation and cause combustion to fail.

– Take a look at the state of the chimneys and the ventilation ducts is not more. It must be done both before the winter season and after each snowfall.

– And if we can get hold of a CO detector for our home, we will have a security plus.

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