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March 15, — Although many people consider inhaling helium from a balloon in order to talk in a squeaky cartoon-like voice to be harmless fun, the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition NIPC is warning that the practice can be quite harmful — and even deadly.
According to the NIPC, huffing helium can cut off oxygen supply or can cause an embolism if a person inhales too deeply. In addition, pressurized tank gas can cause lungs to rupture. At a press conference, representatives from NIPC, the National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDAand other national organizations came together to discuss the serious dangers posed by helium, as well as by other inhalants commonly found in homes.
Other press conference participants included the parents of Ashley Earp, a year-old girl who died last month after inhaling helium from a pressurized tank. Although the federal government does not currently collect statistics on deaths from helium huffing, the state of Florida does. Right now a 4-year-old can buy a balloon filled with helium and inhale it. They are Is breathing helium dangerous them out without warning," said Justin Earp, Ashley's stepfather. Media has also played a ificant role in promoting the "fun" that comes from this practice.
This character encouraged kids to videotape themselves inhaling helium and talking funny, and then to the videos. Brian Dyak, president of the Entertainment Industries Council Inc, noted at the press conference that just 1 of these depictions can reach millions of viewers, and social media can pass its message along to an even wider audience. This normalizing of huffing needs to stop, and all of us can play a role in that," added Harvey Weiss, executive director of the NIPC, at the press conference.
Beforehand, he told Medscape Medical News that adults need to be aware that encouraging kids to inhale helium "is sending a message that it's okay to put any type of gas into your body. And we want to prevent that from happening. I just don't think there are enough people that understand the level of concern that we have with this," said Weiss. In addition to helium, the press conference participants stressed the dangers of misusing all inhalants.
According to NIDA's Web site, these often include household products containing volatile solvents, aerosols, or gases that can provide mind-altering effects from their breathable chemical vapors. According to Weiss, there are about of these types of products currently available. Although he is not sure which is the most popular right now, he did cite computer dust cleaner or "canned air" as a definite contender.
So we want to make sure people are aware of how dangerous all these products can be. With any type of chemical or gas, once it's misused or not used the Is breathing helium dangerous it was intended, the consequences can be fatal," said Weiss. He also mentioned that so-called "Whip-its" are still being used. These small canisters of Is breathing helium dangerous oxide are often sold at gourmet food stores, as the product can be used to make whipped cream, and at head shops and tattoo parlors.
And a public health campaign does work. It's all about education. There just needs to be a concerted Is breathing helium dangerous to deal with inhalants. In addition, the NIPC offers free printed materials and videos. You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive when new content is published.
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