Fan Death! Beware!

I’m surprised that I haven’t dedicated a post to this so I am remedying this right now.  I’ll be drawing on Wikipedia as it is the best source of information (and those of you who look down on Wikipedia, you don’t know how it works!).

Fan death is a widely held belief in South Korea that an electric fan left running overnight in a closed room can cause the death of those sleeping inside.

That single statement has caused a whole nation to lose their ever-loving minds.  Their logic goes RIGHT out the door and their ignorance of how the world of physics really works is all they have.  While this sounds harsh, it is a fact of life here.  This myth is heavily perpetuated over generations and anyone from 7 to 70 believes this.  It is a single point of intellectual frustration to see such normally intelligent people get so dumb when it comes to this.  Let’s take a look at the lighter side in a video though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oms2grI1TC0

The Koreans simply just listen to the news and absolutely ignore the ‘allegedly’ or ‘reportedly’ key words before the ‘fan death’ term.  Hell, if you tell them that NO WHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD has this belief, they don’t change their minds.

Gord Giesbrecht, a professor of thermophysiology at the University of Manitoba,[15] is a leading expert on hypothermia:

It’s hard to imagine death by fan, because to die of hypothermia, one’s body temperature would have to get down to 28°C, drop by 10 degrees [Celcius] overnight. We’ve got people lying in snowbanks overnight here in Winnipeg and they survive.

Their ‘logic’ will only point out that the person is not Korean.  As dumb as a defence that is, let’s go onto this then:

Dr. Lee Yoon-song is a professor at Seoul National University‘s medical school and works with the school’s Institute of Scientific Investigation. He has conducted autopsies on some of the people who have been described in Korean media as having succumbed to fan death:

When someone’s body temperature drops below 35 degrees, they do start to lose judgment ability. So if someone was hiking and later found dead, that could be part of the reason. But we can’t really apply this to fan accidents. I found most of the victims already had some sort of disease like heart problems or serious alcoholism. So hypothermia is not the main reason for death, but it may contribute.

Did you catch that?  A KOREAN citizen working at one of the highest rated NATIONAL universities here has stated that Fan Death does not exist.  He also touches on the lack of news reporters pointing out to any pre-existing conditions that are normally the real cause of death.

I defy any Korean to find me a medical report that definitively states the cause of death is due to a fan!

 

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Author: DragonDon

Having a love of travel has lead me to move to South Korea in 2010. Moving to an Eastern culture from a Western culture is a wild experience and there is never a dull day!

17 thoughts on “Fan Death! Beware!”

      1. Hmmm…I wrote a reply and I don’t have the notice that it’s been sent!!!! Ok…I sleep with a fan all the time in the summer…I should be a ghost by now if there’s any truth to that hype…

      2. Heh…yeah….same here. I mean, running the AC is pretty expensive and besides, I prefer to have a nice casual breeze than AC any day. So, fan it is!

      3. Heh…being as white as I am here, I think I’ve already been classified in that category by some of the old ladies who just stare at the 240lbs guy who walks by…. ;)

      4. Seriously, you should see the stares my wife & I get. I heard that some foreigner got a t-shirt that said “Stare harder, I might do something funny.”

      5. Sorry…but that made me laugh even harder…I know what it feels like though…if I open my mouth in Italy it’s quite the same…and I won’t talk about when I lived in Africa! LOL!

      6. OMG you’ve got to be joking…so so Japanese…actually I think I’ve actually heard about that book…from a book written by a Belgian author…

      7. Oh the stories that abound in our expat lives eh? Part of the reason why I write this blog….it’s stuff you just got to read because you won’t believe it otherwise!

  1. Someone somewhere on the internet wrote a post explaining that it wasn’t HyPO thermia, but HyPER thermia (and dehydration) that was the culprit in fan death – ala a convection oven, with no windows open, the fan merely circulates hot air over the sleeper. At first, the sleeper sweats and is able to deal. However, the very young, old, or drunk will run out of that soon and their temperature will start to shoot up. Especially if they are drunk, they probably won’t wake up to get some water, and thus over heat and die.

    So while it’s unlikely, it CAN happen… just very very unlikely.

    1. And IF that does happen, it is usually a minor factor to a larger issue already present. Still, it’s like mindlessly worshipping God over here….a belief for the sake of the belief without any real thought put into it.

    1. Still not buying out. Most of that explanation lacks any real proof, let alone critical thinking. Ugh, i won’t even bother going into the details but “the body maintains a thin layer of air around it” Really? What utter nonsense. I easy show me a death certificate rusty says cause of death was “air floeing over the body in a closed room” with ZERO other factors, then and ONLY then week I consider this.

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