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Doctors to get extra help identifying CO poisoning

19 March 2009

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Every GP in England is to be aided in detecting the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning through a special chart.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) will be sending diagnostic algorithm flowcharts to surgeries throughout the country in order to help doctors diagnose CO poisoning among patients who may have symptoms more commonly associated with other ailments.

The chart is supported by Gas Safe and produced in consultation with the Royal College of General Practitioners, the College of Emergency Medicine and the Department of Heath.

It also contains some key telephone numbers for advice services and recommend that upon diagnosing CO poisoning, doctors contact their local Health Protection Unit who will co-ordinate response by Environmental Health and other key services.

More than 50 people die each year in the UK from accidental exposure to high levels of CO and hundreds more may have their health affected by exposure to low levels of the odourless, colourless and tasteless gas.

Symptoms include headaches, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, shortness of breath and chest pains.

Copyright © Press Association 2009