Natural gas is an important resource used to power homes and businesses across the country. But even though the infrastructure that provides this gas to different locations is well-developed in the USA, leaking gas represents a real danger. To keep you and your team — and the general public — safe, it’s crucial that you understand any natural gas leak symptoms that may be encountered at your place of business.
Use this article as your guide to what to look for. As with any health-related advice we give, we urge you to seek medical attention for anyone who is exposed to a gas leak as soon as possible.
Read on to learn more about these symptoms.
- Pain in the head
One of the primary symptoms often reported by people who have been exposed to natural gas is a headache. This is one of the reasons that can make it difficult to identify a natural gas leak, as headaches and related discomfort are not uncommon in daily life.
If a member of your staff has a headache, this does not necessarily indicate exposure to natural gas. However, if several members of your team are experiencing headaches at the same time or following time spent in a particular shared location, this is cause for concern. If this is the case, a natural gas leak may be the cause.
Prolonged exposure to natural gas deprives the brain of the oxygen it needs to function properly. As a result, many people report feeling dizzy and unsteady on their feet after they have been exposed to natural gas for an extended amount of time.
The symptoms should start to subside quickly once the individual is separated from the source of the gas. Moving outside or into a well-ventilated area should help the individual begin to feel normal once again.
Feeling sick is a common sensation when we are unwell, and it can have numerous sources. However, if several members of your team start to feel nauseous at the same time, this is likely to be the result of a localized problem, which could indicate a natural gas leak.
These feelings of nausea do not always result in the individual actually being sick. The feelings may simply manifest as a general and nagging queasiness that refuses to go away. Again, moving the individual to a well-ventilated space should help the symptoms of nausea to subside.
- Painful irritation to the eyes
Natural gas can cause the eyes to dry out and become sore and irritated. The natural reaction here is to rub the eyes to relieve the irritation, often making matters worse. Instead, rinse the eyes with clean water to remove any contaminants as rubbing the eyes will not be effective in this case.
Eye irritation is generally associated with exposure to highly concentrated levels of natural gas or with situations in which gas is released directly into the eyes. However, this symptom can occur even when the level of gas within the room or space is still relatively low.
- Fatigue and listlessness
Many of the symptoms associated with exposure to natural gas are similar to those of flu. Again, this can make a gas leak difficult to spot in many cases. However, while flu symptoms often come on slowly, beginning with something similar to the common cold and growing gradually worse, natural gas leak symptoms may be more immediate. This may provide a correlative clue to their source.
General feelings of tiredness and listlessness are common among those exposed to natural gas. Individuals may begin to lose energy and become tired and lethargic, or they may feel that they have no strength and are weaker than they would usually be. This could be a sign that there is a natural gas leak at your premises.
- Dryness in the throat and coughing
The drying properties of natural gas can also manifest themselves on the throat and in other airways. If the gas is breathed in, the air passages may become dry and irritated, leading to a painful or scratchy throat for anyone who is exposed. This may range from simply feeling unpleasant to feeling actively painful in more extreme cases.
As with other instances of dry or irritated airways, this may also result in coughing. Coughing is a natural response as the body attempts to clear the airways and throat of an apparent blockage. Extended bouts of coughing will exacerbate the soreness in the throat and can be thoroughly unpleasant for the sufferer.
- Difficulty breathing
Further to the irritation of airwaves and coughing, some individuals may find it difficult to breathe. This is because the natural gas replaces the oxygenated air needed to breathe normally. Finding it difficult to breathe can be a distressing experience, and this may lead to further psychological symptoms such as shock or stress.
Individuals with lung conditions or other problems with breathing may be acutely affected by exposure to natural gas. Anyone who feels unwell or unusual due to exposure should evacuate the area immediately and reach a better-ventilated space. The longer the exposure to natural gas, the more severe their symptoms are likely to become.
An Important Health and Safety Note
As previously mentioned, most of these symptoms will be relatively mild on their own. However, natural gas is a poisonous substance, and exposure can result in serious health complaints. If any of the above symptoms persist or if the individual does not respond to first-aid treatment, seek medical attention immediately. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Keeping You, Your Team, and the General Public Safe: This Is the Bottom Line
As a business owner, you care about public safety as well as the safety of you and your team. Monitoring natural gas is a big part of this. Look out for the above symptoms, and work to keep your premises safe from natural gas leaks.