Ablutophobia is a very real mental illness. Imagine what it must be like to have a horrible phobia of taking showers. We often take this daily chore for granted, but one young man who couldn’t get himself to wash with soap and water has lost his life.
A British teen, Thomas Townsend, has died at the age of 16 from inhaling high amounts of Butane gas in the many bottles of deodorant found in his room.
Townsend, who suffered from a series of unspecified emotional problems, was using large amounts of deodorant and shaving cream to compensate for showering, which he refused to do. He lived in a foster home in Folkstone, Kent, and 42 cans of aerosol spray were found in his bedroom after he was taken away by ambulance.
The longtime resident of the foster home was known to go through a can a week of deodorant in trying to cover up his body odor, which resulted from his refusal to shower.
His mother Sally explained: “He would not take showers but would stand there with a deodorant and spray half the can on him. Then he’d spray aftershave.”
Pathologist Dr. Kareem Aboualfa confirmed that there were no drugs or alcohol found in Townsend’s body, only the butane gas, which resulted in circulation collapse from breathing in butane gas.
The staff at the foster home found Townsend on the landing outside his room. Paramedics were called in but they were ultimately unsuccessful in saving the boy’s life.
Although Townsend had a history of self-harm, the coroner said that it was evident he had not tried to kill himself.
Townsend’s dream was to have a career in shoeing and trimming horses’ hooves. His loss of life is truly tragic.