Carbon Monoxide - The Silent Killer?
19th September 2020 - Four college girls were found unconscious in a parked car, with the engine running. Two were pronounced dead at the scene, one dead whilst in treatment at the hospital, while the sole survivor took ten days to regain consciousness. Upon further investigation, all of them suffered from multiple organ failures due to carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a leakage from the car’s exhaust pipes.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is colourless, tasteless, and odourless. A quick sniff – even a ridiculously small amount of it but in less than an hour, it could have replaced the oxygen in your blood, causing you to eventually lose consciousness and crash. In short, CO is a silent killer. Who would’ve thought.. a simple nap in the car could take lives?
Now, how do we prevent such tragedies from happening again? First, ensure that your car is in tip top condition. Ensure that air circulation is proper in the vehicle. Secondly, remember there was a point in time when we were advised to “warm up your car’s engine for it to last longer”? Forget that – as being stationary for a long time will inevitably release carbons into the air, allowing for inhalation. Plus, studies have shown that it’ll just damage the modern car’s engine a lot quicker.
Thirdly, avoid sleeping in your car with the engine running at all costs, no matter if your windows are open or shut. If you really need to sleep in your car, just turn your engine off. Last but not least, have you ever noticed this button in your car (attach air recirculation icon)? Ensure this is turned ON when you’re driving but OFF when you’re stationary.
Speaking of carbon monoxide, it also exists in any incomplete combustion tool that we use daily, from your kitchen stove, or even cigarette. Therefore, it is important to ensure good air circulation in your kitchen and homes, and always keep the windows open when cooking. As for cigarettes, you might want to consider looking for an alternative smoking devices like the e-cigarettes or the heated tobacco products that do not involve any burning but just heating, or just stop smoking altogether.