Carbon monoxide poisoning: 40 hospitalizations in six weeks

National fire brigade Brandweer Nederland and the Dutch Burns Foundation are sounding the alarm about "silent killer" carbon monoxide. Over the past six weeks 40 people were hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning, caused by faulty geysers, heaters, poor ventilation or clogged flues, reports.

"The cold has not even started in the Netherlands and we are already seeing so many accidents", Jet Vroege of the fire brigade said, according to the newspaper. "The silent killer CO is already working hard this year."

Over the past six weeks 18 incidents sent 40 people to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. For last year the accident register lists 2 fatalities, 161 injuries, with 114 hospitalizations as a result. The fire brigade and burns foundation assume that the actual figures are higher, as incidents with fireplaces and wood stoves are not included in the register. 

Carbon monoxide can spread through poor maintenance or poor ventilation, according to the newspaper. As the gas is odorless, it is hard to notice. The first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to the flu - light headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Without intervention, it can eventually lead to unconsciousness or even death. 

According to the Dutch Burns Foundation, a survey among a random sample of the population showed that 43 percent of respondents don't know that they should have a CO alarm in areas where their geyser, central heating boiler, fireplace or stove are located.