Danger of Exposure to Fumes


Few days ago a female final year student of UNIZIK was killed by fumes from a generator in an unventilated room. In medical parlance, this is called carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a preventable medical emergency.

When I perceive fumes from my neighbour’s gigantic old lister, carbon monoxide poisoning comes to mind as I hurriedly shut my windows.

Many cases of carbon monoxide exposure occur in private residences. Carbon monoxide is generated as a result of the improper use of gasoline-powered portable generators to provide electricity and indoor use of charcoal, firewood for cooking and heating. Exhaust from generators and propulsion engines has also been linked to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Most fatalities from carbon monoxide poisoning result from fires, but stoves, portable heaters, and automobile exhaust cause approximately one third of deaths. These often are associated with malfunctioning or obstructed exhaust systems. Cigarette smoke is a significant source of carbon monoxide too.

Here in Kano, a common cause of carbon monoxide poisoning is being in an enclosed room when the house is on fire.

Survivors of carbon monoxide poisoning are at risk for a range of complications which include:

  1. Impaired intellectual function
  2. Short-term memory loss
  3. Dementia
  4. Amnesia
  5. Psychosis
  6. Irritability
  7. Dysfunctional gait
  8. Speech disorders
  9. Parkinson disease
  10. Cortical blindness
  11. Depression

In our clime, many of us are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning because of exposure. Be cautious and prevent it.

Now I have gone green, not only because it is noiseless, but because it is safer and healthier.

I love you, I love your health.

Your favourite family physician,

Doctor Dileem.

Dr Nkem Ndiche, better known as Dr Dileem, is a Kano-based Family Physician and author. The article was first published on her blog, doctordileem.com

Post Author: David Chibueze