Nepal | July 19, 2019

Instant gas water geyser can be a silent killer in bathroom, warn doctors

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, February 7

A 31-year-old woman, in a seemingly unlikely place for fatal accidents almost lost her life yesterday morning while taking a bath in a hot water bathtub.

Doctors said she might have fallen unconscious after 10 to 15 minutes as carbon monoxide was released from the gas geyser which was fitted in the bathroom.

Her husband, who is also a radiologist, rescued her after 45 minutes from the bathtub and rushed her to Norvic Hospital, where she recovered after treatment.

Priency Chandrabansi, 21, an engineering student at Nepal Engineering College in Lalitpur, was not as lucky. She faced a tragic death inside the hostel bathroom a few months ago. The gas geyser fixed inside the bathroom had emitted the odourless, colourless and tasteless carbon monoxide, which she inhaled. She was in clothes.

According to Ajay Chandra, Priency’s maternal uncle, circumstantial evidences showed that she was trying to unlock the bathroom’s door after taking a bath.

She was rushed to Patan Hospital, which referred her to Norvic Hospital. There she was kept on ventilator for two days before her death.

Though gas geyser is popular and is widely used in urban areas, it may be highly risky if necessary safety requirements are not met.

Dr Ajit Shrestha, a pulmonologist at Alka Hospital, advised all to take extra precautions while using gas geyser connected to liquefied petroleum gas as it released carbon monoxide. Breathing in carbon monoxide in excessive levels obstructs oxygen supply to the body. He informed that it was also called gas geyser syndrome.

“Inhalation of carbon monoxide results in flaccid paralysis which gradually passes from face to toes that may lead to death if immediate medical care is not provided. Among other safety measures, gas geyser should never be installed in ill-ventilated bathroom,” Dr Shrestha warned.

Inhalation of toxic fumes can damage the membrane lining in the lungs. The damage to the alveolar lining layer can cause leakage of fluids in the lungs and can reduce oxygenation, causing respiratory distress. This could cause multiple complications.

Safety tips

  • Keep track of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning like headache, disorientation, weakness, nausea, chest pain and dizziness
  • Do not instal gas geyser in an ill-ventilated bathroom
  • Always keep the ventilators open while using gas geyser
  • Get the gas geyser checked by technicians on a periodic basis
  • Don’t keep running the gas geyser for a long time
  • In case of emergency, move the victim to an open area immediately

A version of this article appears in print on February 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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