Carbon monoxide is a gas that has no smell, taste or colour, these unique features make it easy for the gas to kill with little or no warning. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when you breathe in this gas. Because it has no colour, taste or smell, you may not even be aware that you are breathing in carbon monoxide. The gas gets into your blood stream and causes damage by preventing your red blood cells from carrying oxygen. Oxygen is vital for life and must be carried to all parts of the body, especially the brain. When carbon monoxide poisoning occurs, the body is starved of oxygen and your cells and tissue die.
While small levels may not kill immediately, over a period of time, it can be fatal, causing serious bodily injuries such as damage to the brain and paralysis. For this reason, it is vital that every home have a carbon monoxide alarm.