A number of students were examined and hospitalized on Sunday evening after a suspected gas leak at an unnamed university residence in Parktown, Johannesburg.
ER24, EMS of the city of Johannesburg and other services were called to the scene after students began complaining of shortness of breath.
ER24 paramedics said when they arrived on the scene, the students, aged 18 and over, had already evacuated the building and were standing on the sidewalk and street waiting for help.
A triage room was set up, where about 170 people were assessed. 60 ended up in hospital and the remaining patients refused further medical treatment.
It is not yet known what caused the massive shortness of breath, but local authorities were on site to investigate the possible cause of the incident.
What to do if you have inhaled gas?
Carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas with no taste or smell, can cause illness and even death.
And accidental carbon monoxide poisoning is more common than one might think.
The British NHS explains that when carbon monoxide is inhaled, it enters your bloodstream and mixes with hemoglobin to form carboxyhemoglobin.
This prevents your blood from carrying oxygen, causing cells and tissue to fail and die.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing;
- Feeling and being sick;
- fatigue and confusion; and
- Stomach ache.
Many symptoms are similar to someone having the flu or food poisoning, but carbon monoxide poisoning does not cause a fever.
If you believe you have been exposed to carbon monoxide, call emergency services immediately and seek fresh air. The longer you breathe in carbon monoxide, the worse the health effects will be.
Curated by Nica Richards.