Fan death refers to the belief that sleeping in a enclosed space with a running electric fan can be fatal.
Belief in fan death is common in South Korea where is it thought to have originated. The belief has spread to some other countries in the East but is relatively unheard of in Western countries.
There is no scientific basis for the idea that fans can be deadly, in fact numerous studies have disproven the theory beyond doubt. The very idea seems absurd to most people outside South Korea.
Amazingly, in South Korea fan death is legitimised by mainstream medical practitioners as well as the media. During summer (fan death season), there are regular media reports of fan death numbers. Quotes are often included from doctors who discuss the causes and prevention of fan death.
Left: Instructions on a new South Korean electric fan. Users are warned not to sleep with the fan operating.
Fans in South Korea are also equipped with a timer knob which can be set to turn the fan off after a set time period. This is supposedly a safety feature to prevent fan death.