Kathmandu, January 6 A 19-year-old girl from Birgunj lost consciousness on Saturday while she was bathing in Satdobato-based girls’ hostel bathroom equipped with gas water geyser. Though she was rushed to Patan Hospital she lost her life during treatment. Geysers connected to liquefied petroleum gas are used in many houses in urban areas, but very few are aware about the fact that they pose a serious threat to life if necessary safety requirements are not met. Suffocation in the bathrooms and carbon monoxide poisoning are not uncommon. “Of the bathrooms are small, have poor ventilation and lack carbon monoxide detectors, gas water heaters liberating even small amount of carbon monoxide pose threat to life,” said Dr Bidesh Bista, pulmonologist at Civil Hospital. “A gas geyser contains a gas burner and a sealed combustion chamber of the heating appliance which generates carbon monoxide that is toxic. Use of such geysers is dangerous, especially in poorly ventilated bathrooms when safety precautions are not followed,” said Dr Bista. Carbon monoxide gas is colourless and odourless. “Even a small percentage (0.1 or 0.2) of carbon monoxide can be extremely dangerous. Breathing in carbon monoxide obstructs oxygen supply to the body. Victims feel dizzy and breathless. When there is high amount of carbon monoxide in blood then lack of oxygen could lead to death,” he added. “It even increases number of seizure attacks in patients with epilepsy while taking shower with a gas water heater, most likely due to hypoxia — oxygen deficiency,” Dr Bista added. Headache, disorientation, weakness, nausea, chest pain, and dizziness are some of the symptoms of lack of oxygen in the body. If anyone feels any of the above symptoms then s/he should immediately come out from the bathroom, the doctor suggested. “Carbon monoxide poisoning is a leading cause of injury and death. If immediate medical care is not provided, the victim can lose his/her life,” said Dr Ajit Shrestha, chest physician at Alka Hospital. “Gas water geysers should not be used in any bathroom with poor ventilation. There should be proper cross ventilation,” Dr Shrestha added. “If possible, carbon monoxide detector with alarm system should be installed in the bathroom with the gas water geyser,” Dr Bista added. “The safest option is to install the geyser unit outside the bathroom, with only the hot water outlet inside the bathroom. Gas geysers should be properly maintained,” said, a geyser technician.
- Do not install gas geyser in an ill-ventilated bathroom
- Get the gas geyser checked by technicians periodically
- Always keep the ventilators open while using gas geyser
- Don’t keep running the gas geyser for a long time
- In case of emergency, take the victim to an open area immediately
- Come out from the bathroom immediately if any difficulty is felt