Protecting at risk groups from CO exposure

Individuals with Chronic Health Conditions

People with chronic respiratory conditions (e.g., asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), cardiovascular diseases, anaemia, or compromised immune systems are more susceptible to the harmful effects of carbon monoxide.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can exacerbate these conditions and lead to severe health problems.

Impaired Respiratory Function

Many chronic health conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or interstitial lung disease, are associated with impaired respiratory function. The reduced capacity of the respiratory system can hinder the body's ability to eliminate carbon monoxide, leading to increased susceptibility.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Individuals with cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure or coronary artery disease, already have compromised oxygen delivery to tissues. Carbon monoxide further diminishes the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, intensifying the strain on the cardiovascular system.


Chronic health conditions, including certain types of anaemia, can result in a decreased ability of the blood to carry oxygen. Carbon monoxide competes with oxygen to bind to haemoglobin, exacerbating the impact of anaemia on oxygen transport.

Neurological Disorders

Individuals with neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis, may have altered sensorimotor functions. Impaired coordination and weakened responses to environmental hazards, including carbon monoxide, can increase the risk of exposure.

Weakened Immune System

Chronic health conditions often involve a compromised immune system. Carbon monoxide poisoning can further stress the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and secondary complications.

Reduced Ability to Detect Symptoms

Some chronic health conditions can affect sensory perception or cognitive function. Individuals may have a reduced ability to recognise the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, delaying the identification of exposure.

Extended Recovery Periods

Individuals with chronic health conditions may experience longer recovery periods and increased vulnerability to complications following exposure to carbon monoxide. The gas can contribute to the exacerbation of existing health issues.

Protecting people with Chronic Health Conditions from CO

Individuals with chronic health conditions are at a greater risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to more severe consequences in individuals with compromised health.

The following measures can help prevent potential exposure to carbon monoxide.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Install carbon monoxide detectors in homes, especially in areas where individuals with chronic health conditions spend a significant amount of time. These should be regularly tested and maintained.

Appliance Maintenance

Regular maintenance for heating systems, stoves, and other fuel-burning appliances should be carried out. Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide.

Regular Health Checks

Individuals with chronic health conditions should undergo regular health monitoring, including assessments of respiratory and cardiovascular function. This helps identify potential vulnerabilities to carbon monoxide exposure.

Education and Awareness

It's important that individuals with chronic health conditions are aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Immediate medical attention if exposure is suspected.

Understanding the unique risks that individuals with chronic health conditions face regarding carbon monoxide exposure allows for targeted preventive measures and early intervention.