Over 80% of UK adults could be at risk of mistaking carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms for a different illness such as a cold, flu or hangover, according to new research.
The findings are released as part of new national campaign from the Gas Safe Register – Better Gas Safe Than Sorry – to help improve public awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning. The data reveals that more than three quarters (82%) of people are unlikely to consider CO poisoning as the possible cause of a headache and nausea. This is despite these symptoms being two of the most common signs of exposure to the poisonous gas.
The research, which involved 3,000 UK adults, suggests that most people don’t realise that the effects of CO exposure may not be severe. Only one in five (20%) respondents said they’d be aware of a carbon monoxide leak in their home if they felt unwell, as opposed to seriously unwell.
These findings are particularly concerning as latest figures show that 5.5 million homes in the UK are known to have unsafe gas appliances, such as gas boilers, cookers or gas fires which can lead to carbon monoxide leaking. Even more worryingly, only 20% of those surveyed said they always stop using a faulty gas appliance until it is fixed and just 42% get their gas appliances serviced every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
The Better Gas Safe Than Sorry launch event, which is taking place in Birmingham’s Bullring today, will feature an emergency butty van that will share potentially life-saving information. One of the UK’s favourite*** breakfast hangover foods – the bacon butty (and non-meat alternatives) will be shared with passers-by as a way of highlighting the similarity between hangover symptoms and the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – a parallel recognised by only 40% of UK adults.
Jonathan Samuel, Chief Executive, Gas Safe Register said: “It is really important to be better gas safe than sorry. Staying safe includes being aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. If people are suffering from ‘hangover-like’ symptoms, such as headaches or nausea but haven’t been drinking – which is even more likely in January – it is important to consider carbon monoxide poisoning alongside other possible causes. We would also like to urge everyone to help protect themselves and their loved ones by getting their gas appliances safety checked every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer”.