Take A Deep Breath

FTLComm - Tisdale - Sunday, January 6, 2002
In the winter with a chill in the air most of us like to keep the windows on our car closed, the air even in a closed car seems more than fresh enough. But danger lurks in every car park idling or even cruising down the highway. Carbon monoxide is odourless, it will give you no obvious warnings of its presence and the signs of hypoxia (suffication) can sneak up on you very quickly.

Just in case you have forgotten, carbon-monoxide has a molecule almost the same size as the oxygen molecule and without odour it can be present in your car, or house for that matter and go completely unnoticed. Your lungs are designed to admit molecules that size into your blood stream and that means you can quickly load up your system with this life depriving poison. Hydrogen sulfide atoms are about the same size but in low concentrations the powerful and repelling smell of rotten eggs tells you that there is poison present. But carbon monoxide is a silent deadly killer.

The most usual sign of monoxide poisoning is a head ache, accompanied by a cold sweat, you will experience some mild confusion before you lose consciousness, have trouble working out problems, might experience some vision blurring before you begin to feel very sleepy. Long before you finger nails and lips turn blue your speech will be slurred and you might even experiences some giddiness. For a child in a car with smaller body and smaller lungs, they will become unconscious before an adult will even notice the symptoms.

This car in this picture has a leaking worn out exhaust system, as you can see the water vapour climbing up all around the body of the car. A hole in the trunk, or floor and a few minutes sitting idling could put an end to the occupants.

Have a mechanic check over that exhaust system on your car, especially if its an older model, a bad exhaust system may allow your car to run just fine, but don't bet your life on it.