The Rumored Fan Death

By popular demand, we are finally making a blog post about Fan Death.

What is Fan Death? Koreans believe that if you turn on a fan in your house and sleep with all the windows shut you will die. No joke. That is not logical and has no scientific backing you say? Well, that will do nothing to deter the South Koreans from being terrified of it. Read on to find out why.

South Korea, Fan Death

Here are the ways you can die from leaving a fan on:

– The fan lowers your body temperature and causes hypothermia.
– The fan blows the air past your face so fast that you cannot breathe it in.
– The fan chops up the oxygen molecules, leaving no oxygen to be inhaled.
– The fan uses up all the oxygen in the room, leaving high levels of carbon dioxide.
– The fan directly on the body deprives “skin-breathing,” leading to suffocation.

Newspapers in Korea frequently report people dying from Fan Death. Scientists and Doctors propagate this theory explaining the ways people died by Fan. There is no mention of autopsy reports or other, fatal health conditions the patient might have had. It’s hard to blame the Korean people for believing in this myth when all the media in their country supports this theory and reports on it. But the Doctors and Scientists that support this myth? I can blame them. I mean, WTF?  Wikipedia even has a post explaining why all this ridiculousness isn’t possible.

They are serious about this shit, check out some of these warning labels:

Fan Death, South Korea

South Korea, Fan Death

So that’s it folks. Fan Death. I try to avoid this conversation topic at all costs with my co-teachers, so as not to offend them when I inadvertently laugh in their face. Unfortunately the topic arose with one of the teachers I’m closest to at school last week, when she warned me to be careful with my fan since it was dangerous. I was silent for a moment trying to think of the best way to respond. I just told her that in the US people have never heard of that problem and we very commonly leave the fan on all day, all night, and have never been harmed. Confused, she said, but they report about it in the news….? I know, I said awkwardly….but….so…what are you up to this weekend?

For some other very entertaining posts from friends about fan death check out: Amanda’s blog, and Brittany’s blog.



10 Responses to “The Rumored Fan Death”

  1. Dyson’s fan would REALLY trip them up. Or become a bestseller in SK

  2. No way- they report deaths from it?! I always wondered about the health hazzards of standing next to a fan and finding myself not being able to breathe, but the rest I didn’t know about. uh-oh. LOL. I wonder what their take on ACs are?

  3. Barbara Says:

    Just read about fan death and was very surprised. Then, I read this ( and it looks like there is some truth to it. There’s even an EPA leaflet with some info in it. Interesting stuff…

    • Yep, read that ages ago. The US EPA warns about ‘fan death’ in one of their informational pamphlets, although they don’t use that term for obvious reasons.

      What’s really amusing is how Westerners “disbelieve” in fan death for the same crazy reasons the Koreans “believe” in it. Just another example of how irrational humans really are.

  4. Hi Barbara,

    That is an interesting post by Ask a Korean that does a good job explaining why Koreans may believe in it. I’m still not convinced, but interesting post.


  5. […] it’s 100 degrees outside, we can’t turn the air on, you’re scared of  fans, we’re eating soup…SOMETHING’S GOTTA […]

  6. […] aka Fan Death (blogged by many fellow SK bloggers, such as Gina & Joel of One Year in Daegu …they have a fun blog on it!). The way Koreans react towards rain is another phenomenon. When it drizzles or even mists, out […]

  7. […] aka Fan Death (blogged by many fellow SK bloggers, such as Gina & Joel of One Year in Daegu …they have a fun blog on it!). The way Koreans react towards rain is another phenomenon. When it drizzles or even mists, out […]

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