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Burning issue: Amid nine deaths, experts warn of gas, other heater dangers

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Owais Gull
Srinagar: While nine lives have been lost this winter to suffocation due to gas and other heaters, the experts on Saturday sounded alert over the use of such appliances especially during the night.
The excessive use of heaters including gas and kerosene besides other heating appliances, they says, can prove fatal as majority of the people use them in airtight rooms during the winter having inadequacy of fresh oxygen.
Notably, five members of a family from Tangdhar died of suffocation in their rented accommodation in Srinagar’s Bemina area today while three non-local labourers died due to asphyxiation at Shou village in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district in intervening night of December 11 and 12 last year.
Besides, a teen died and three others were hospitalised in critical condition due to asphyxiation in Burran village of Pattan in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on December 28.
Senior doctor and the president of a medicos body, Dr Suhail Naik said that keeping the gas heaters on while sleeping can increase the carbon monoxide level in the human body, thus reach the stage where muscles get weak and energy level reduce, therefore they can’t even move to rescue their themselves.
“The heating measures in the bone-chilling cold is necessary to survive but the use of heating appliances should not be exaggerated, which can prove harmful to the human lives and in several cases cause death to the people,” he says.
Dr Naik said that even electric blankets and excessive use of heating blowers during night hours can also prove fatal to the people. He said excessive use makes atmosphere dry in the room which would affect the people.
Another expert said exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. “Its symptoms include tiredness, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, nausea, muscle weakness, confusion etc while exposure to extremely high levels of carbon monoxide can result in death,” he added.
Another expert said that excessive use of charcoal based heating appliances including Kangiris, the traditional firepot, can also prove harmful, underlining that people must bear in mind that the carbon monoxide level in the human body must not increase.

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