Family die from carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure you are protected

December 21, 2011

CIA Let Property Blog

In the last week a family (father and two children) from Sligo, County Sligo were found dead in their home due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

They were all found in the front room and their two dogs were also found dead.

To help prevent any more deaths and/or long-term damage from CO poisoning, below are a list of symptoms and hopefully can be prevented.


  •  A headache – This is the most common symptom
  •  Feeling sick and dizzy
  •  Feeling tired and confused
  •  Being sick and having stomach pain
  •  Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing

Symptoms can come either very quickly and can be fatal. They can also develop over a number of months depending on how much carbon monoxide is in the air.

In the UK more than 50 people die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning every year, and 200 people are seriously injured.

How is carbon monoxide produced?

Carbon monoxide is hard to detect because it has no smell, taste or colour. This also means that it is easy to inhale without realising.

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood do not burn fully. When a fire burns in an enclosed room, the oxygen in the room is gradually used up and replaced with carbon dioxide. Following a build – up of carbon dioxide in the air, the fuel is prevented from burning fully and it starts to release carbon monoxide.

The effects of breathing in carbon monoxide

When you breathe in carbon monoxide it enters your blood stream. There it mixes with haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen around you body. However, when carbon monoxide mixes with haemoglobin, the blood is no longer able to carry oxygen. The lack of oxygen causes the body’s tissue and cells to die.

When haemoglobin mixes with carbon monoxide it produces a compound called carboxyhaemoglobin. Carboxyhaemoglobin adversely affects blood vessels in the body, causing them to become leaky. This can lead to swelling in the brain, causing unconsciousness and neurological (nerve) damage.


People with mild symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning usually make a full recovery.

However, between 10 and 50% of people with serious CO poisoning can have long – term problems. Sometimes, complications can arise years later as a result of the CO gas causing damage to the heart.

Carbon monoxide poisoning may lead to death, always make sure you have all correct carbon monoxide poisoning detectors in your home to prevent any fatal situations like the family who sadly passed away in Sligo.


Source – Information on Carbon monoxide poisoning from NHS choices

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