Nadine Coyle : Carbon monoxide poisoning almost killed me
Girls Aloud's Nadine Coyle said she was "one of the lucky ones" as she revealed that severe carbon monoxide poisoning left her "weeks from death".
The 30-year-old Londonderry singer thought she had been struck down with a mystery illness or was suffering from extreme jet lag when she began to forget simple words such as "table" and suffer fatigue and chest pains while recording her album in LA in 2010.
The diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning came entirely by chance when a contractor discovered that a boiler had been leaking the odourless gas for four months and Coyle, her mother and friend had to leave their home.
She said: "I got very, very lucky that we found out what it was before it got any worse. There are people whose machines are giving off really high levels of carbon monoxide and they don't make it through the night. I was one of the lucky ones."
Coyle is mother to 18-month-old daughter Anaiya and revealed she now carries a portable carbon monoxide tester everywhere she travels as the thought of what happened regularly plays on her mind.
The singer said she had been affected by the deaths of Christi Shepherd (7) and her brother Bobby (6), killed by a faulty boiler while on a family holiday to Corfu in 2006.
"It is so, so tragic, so, so terrifying, and it could have been prevented if they'd had a portable carbon monoxide detector," she said.
Speaking of her own daughter, she said: "Absolutely, it plays on your mind. I've got a carbon monoxide detector and it's something that will stay in my bag everywhere I go."
Coyle opened up about how she discovered she had been poisoned.
"It started with headaches and then I had a constant feeling of nausea. I became confused and struggled to string sentences together. I was living with my mum and a friend at the time who also both suffered from similar symptoms.
"Despite having regular blood tests, it took four months for heightened levels of carbon monoxide to appear. I called an engineer who investigated and found that our boiler was faulty and emitting the dangerous gas. A few weeks longer and we could all have been dead," she said.
She admitted that the diagnosis was terrifying but relieving.
"I was petrified, but I was relieved to be perfectly honest because I knew something was badly wrong. I thought thankfully we know now what it is and we can do something about it," she said.
The singer is now working with the Carbon Monoxide - Be Alarmed! campaign and calling for regular checks of gas appliances in every house.
More than 30 million people in the UK could be at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning as new research shows almost half of UK households do not have an audible carbon monoxide alarm.
"I've had a really bad experience with it and I would hate for anybody to go through that or worse," she added.
More information can be found at www.co-bealarmed.co.uk.