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The Department of Disease Control (DDC) has warned tourists visiting high-altitude attractions during cool weather in the North and Northeast to beware of gas-powered water heaters at accommodations as 21 incidents have caused illness or death in the past decade.
During 2008-2017, 24 people fell ill and seven were killed in the 21 incidents involving the use of gas-powered water heaters, said DDC director-general Suwanchai Wattanayingchareonchai.
He said most of the cases took place in the North during December to January and it was found that many of the water heaters were of substandard quality, were installed poorly, or the bathroom had poor ventilation.
The latter problem contributed to sickness as a gas-powered heater with incomplete combustion will cause the victim to be exposed to odourless and colourless carbon monoxide. This can cause dizziness, headache, fainting, respiratory difficulty, vomiting, unconsciousness and even death, especially among those at risk such as children, elderly persons and chronic illness patients (heart disease, high blood pressure and respiratory disease), he said.
He urged accommodation owners and related agencies to inspect the condition of devices to be safe and that ventilating fans be installed along with warning signs and advice on how to use the devices.
He also advised people not to take a lengthy shower and have at least a 15-20 minute gap between one person’s use of the shower after another user.
He said that anyone experiencing dizziness or respiratory issue during a shower should open the door, turn off the heater and leave immediately.
For more information, call the department’s hotline 1422.