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Carbon monoxide poisoning awareness charity on brink of closure

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Carbon monoxide poisoning awareness charity on brink of closure

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Communities, Featured

Carbon monoxide Carbon monoxide

A charity that raises awareness of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning will close on 31 December unless new funding is urgently found.

For the last seven years, Carbon Monoxide Awareness (CMA) has supported those affected by CO poisoning and tried to prevent others from becoming victims.

CO is the UK's most common form of poisoning, killing 50 people in the UK every year.

Lynn Griffiths, the charity’s founder and president, said: “We have had many successes. We established Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week which is now a national institution and a fixture in the calendar and our news media campaigns have generated massive publicity.”

Lynn, her late husband and four children suffered the devastating effects of undiagnosed carbon monoxide poisoning over many years. Despite regular gas services, a partially-blocked flu had remained undetected in their home.

Lynn, who has written to every MP about the charity's plight, added: “We have also worked closely with councils, the emergency services and many others on a range of campaigns and we have been a source of support to victims of this terrible gas. I spend hours talking to people who have been poisoned by carbon monoxide because often they have no one else to turn to who truly understands what they have been through. Both NHS Direct and the College of Emergency Medicine pass my contact details on to victims of CO poisoning.”

Official figures from the Department of Health show that every year in the UK 4,000 people are diagnosed with low-level poisoning, 200 are admitted to hospital and approximately 50 people are killed.

Lynn hasn’t entirely given up hope of a last minute reprieve, but recognises that the charity’s chances of survival are slim. In what may be her final message, she is appealing for a restoration of old fashioned community spirit to help raise awareness of carbon monoxide over the festive season.

“I want people to think of others in their community. They may have family or friends who are at risk and there are certainly many young people, older people and immigrants to the UK who live in poverty and don’t have CO alarms. Be neighbourly, keep an eye on them and take action if any appear to be experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning."

Early symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to common ailments such as food poisoning, viral infections, flu or simple tiredness. These may include headache, drowsiness, nausea and vomiting, aching muscles, difficulty breathing, vision changes, high blood pressure, tinnitus, rapid pulse, dizziness, vertigo and pins and needles.

CMA advises that:

• Carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless gas.
• All gas, oil, coal and wood burning appliances should be serviced every year.
• Chimney should be swept once or twice a year.
• Carbon monoxide alarms when fitted need to be sited correctly and in-date.
• Sensors in a carbon monoxide alarms don't last forever. Check the date on yours today.
• A carbon monoxide alarm can make an ideal Christmas gift.

The charity urgently needs support to help it survive so it can continue to offer support to those who need it. Donations can be made to the charity here.

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