Cooking and heating with gas is common in Australian homes and is a risk factor for several important health problems; however, there is little awareness of these risks among doctors or the public. Gas stove use is estimated to cause 12% of childhood asthma in Australia.


The aim of this article is to help general practitioners identify when gas combustion products such as nitrogen dioxide might be contributing to asthma in children and adults and to alert them to the risks of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, which can be hard to diagnose.


There are excellent alternatives to the use of gas in domestic appliances and some simple behavioural changes that can reduce exposure in situations where appliances cannot yet be removed. CO poisoning can be insidious. Mild exposure can cause headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, malaise and confusion, so it can be mistaken for common conditions such as influenza or gastroenteritis. The COMA mnemonic is clinically useful. Increased awareness of these issues can provide patients with safer and healthier living environments.


carbon monoxide poisoning, gas appliances, C0, COMA, space heater

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