Carbon Monoxide, The Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous gas that has claimed the lives of many yet the public remains unaware of this serial killer. This is so due to the incognito properties of this horrific gas such as being; tasteless, colorless, and odorless yet very poisonous. It is therefore one of the people’s least suspicion for the possible cause of the mysterious deaths that usually happen. This has therefore rendered most of the people defenseless against it hence its continued silent killings.

Carbon monoxide is formed as a result of incomplete combustion of organic fossil fuels such as charcoal, coal, gas and oil due to limited oxygen. However if there is enough oxygen during the combustion, carbon dioxide will be produced instead.

According to, Aristotle showed more evidence about the toxicity of this gas when he mentioned that in the ancient times, the criminals were executed by shutting them in a bathing room with smoldering coals although the mechanism of death was not yet known by then.

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when one breathes in carbon dioxide gas. When it gets into the blood stream, it prevents the red blood cells from carrying oxygen thereby depriving the heart, brain and vital organs of oxygen hence leading to the death of cells, tissues and the whole organism at last. If someone survives, there are high chances of sustaining a brain damage.

Some of the causes for carbon monoxide poisoning are as follows; poor ventilation of the room, use of faulty or damaged heating appliances, use of charcoal stoves in an enclosed room for cooking and heating purposes, use of engines such as generators inside an enclosed room among others.

In case of any suspicion for carbon monoxide poisoning in one’s house, the following symptoms can be used to confirm this gas’ poisoning; headache, dizziness, nausea, collapse, loss of consciousness, muscular weakness, breathlessness, sickness, diarrhea or stomach pains and general lethargy among others.

If all or most of the above symptoms are found to be present, one should consider taking into action the following treatment measures;

First of all, open the doors and windows to allow fresh air into the room. Afterwards, seek medical attention immediately. Ensure a house inspection from by a registered professional to prevent any further accidental poisoning by carbon monoxide.

Every one of us whether young or old is at risk of being poisoned by this gas therefore safety precautions should be taken;

One should ensure that the room in which he or she is cooking from is properly ventilated. This will enable enough oxygen to circulate in the room for complete combustion of the fuel.

One should ensure that the appliances they are using are in normal condition before using them. This will help to prevent any possible gas poisoning.

One should use appliances only for the purpose for which they were designed for. For example, one should not use a charcoal stove for heating up a room because in the due course, the burning charcoal will use up most of the oxygen in the room thereby giving off carbon monoxide which will poison everyone inside the room.

Ensure that there is no interference with any air vents around the room. This will help the air to circulate freely around the room.

An audio carbon monoxide alarm that can produce sound even when someone is asleep should be installed to prevent instances of carbon monoxide poisoning when someone is dead asleep.

Ensure that all the family members in the house are fully aware of the dangers and causes of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A joint effort to fight the poisoning of this silent killer gas is needed. This can be done by promoting the awareness of this poisonous gas to everyone we know. By doing so we shall be able to mitigate the rate of deaths caused by this horrific gas. Remember, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.