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THE DANGERS OF INHALING HELIUM FROM BALLOONS

I have been telling you about the dangers of inhaling helium for many years and people just did not want to believe it.  Or maybe many people believed me and I saved some lives.

STREET  FAIRS FOR PROFIT, FUN AND MADNESS  - D.J. STEFANIK (me)
  My wife and I have been selling our merchandise at street fairs, A&C shows, festivals and county fairs for over 18 years. Now you can read a first-hand account of what we have had to endure as I describe many of our adventures, experiences and nightmares.  Click here for more info on purchasing.


This week we had the following headlines (Feb 24):
Teen dies after inhaling helium at party

Isn't that a darn shame?

14-year-old Ashley Long told her parents she was going to a slumber party. But instead of spending the night watching videos and eating popcorn two blocks away, she piled into a car with a bunch of her friends and rode to a condo in Medford, Ore., where police say the big sister of one of her friends was throwing a party with booze and marijuana.

 

After drinking on the drive, and downing more drinks in the condo, it came time for Ashley to take her turn on a tank of helium that everyone else was inhaling to make their voices sound funny.

 

"That helium tank got going around," said Ashley's stepfather, Justin Earp, who learned what happened from talking to Ashley's friends at the party. "It got to my daughter. My daughter didn't want to do it. It was peer pressure. They put a mask up to her face. They said it would be OK. 'It's not gonna hurt you. It'll just make you laugh and talk funny.'"

 

Instead, she passed out and later died at a hospital, the result of an obstruction in a blood vessel caused by inhaling helium from a pressurized tank.



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/02/23/teen-dies-after-inhaling-helium-at-party/#ixzz1nKMdnsYu

At the Hercules Cultural Festival 2008,  there was a business in back of me giving away free helium-filled balloons. Child after child came over to get one and many of them would open them up and suck in the helium, enabling them to talk like 'Donald Duck'.  I did bring this to their attention and this did not happen at their 2009 Festival.


You have come here because word has gotten around to you that inhaling helium could be dangerous.  You came here because you wanted to find out.  Hopefully, I am providing you with enough information to make an important decision to discourage your children to refrain from inhaling the helium despite how much fun it is.  Listen, these instances are few and far between, but something can indeed happen to you, your children or one of your friends.  I am doing my part to spread the word.

 

A while back, I read something explaining the dangers of inhaling helium. Sure, we all have done it many times and it does get kind of funny. However, I just did some research on inhaling helium (search Google yourself and see what you come up with) and found that this is indeed a dangerous practice. I have never myself seen anything happen to somebody inhaling helium and I do not want to be a party pooper, but reality is that.



Here is just one of the stories I read.

A 10-year-old in New Jersey child collapsed at a birthday party after sucking helium from a balloon. Is helium really that dangerous? It can be. Breathing in pure helium deprives the body of oxygen, as if you were holding your breath. If you couldn't breathe at all, you'd start to die in minutes—as soon as your body exhausted the supply of oxygen stored in the blood. But helium speeds up this process: When the gas fills your lungs, it creates a diffusion gradient that washes out the oxygen. In other words, each breath of helium you take sucks more oxygen out of your system. After inhaling helium, the body's oxygen level can plummet to a hazardous level in a matter of seconds.

You don't have to worry about fatal asphyxiation if you're sucking from a helium balloon at a party. At worst you'll keep going until you get lightheaded and pass out—at which point you'll stop inhaling helium and your body's oxygen levels will return to normal.

  Low Airfare Guarantee on Flights for Summer   


Link to dangers of inhaling helium  
And another link

This blog contains a lot of information for vendors and I provide information regarding festivals, A&C Shows, etc. Basically, people who participate in or go to shows and festivals are the ones reading this. When your child runs over to get one of those helium-filled balloons, please be sure that they do not inhale the helium (or you either) and if you see a business giving away the ballons and you notice kids opening the balloons and inhaling the helium, please let them know that something bad could happen to them.
Comments I found on websites regarding this:

At my son's party yesterday my brother wanted to let the extra balloons go so we could watch them fly into the sky. I was concerned about the environment, and didn't want to do that. So I suggested we suck the helium instead. Stupid me! Now I've taught my six-year-old something very dangerous indeed! (He couldn't do it, but we all had a laugh at my brother's normally deep voice turning Donald Duck-like as he rapped out some rhymes and generally entertained us) I had the thought it might be dangerous when I began to feel a little light-headed. But my brother felt no such effect and thought I must be being paranoid. Oh dear.

Please read this about a person that died from inhaling helium. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-8331149.html

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This horrified me when I read it. I am devastated to realize what risks I have taken - I don´t know if it is completely alarmist, but certainly I would never do it again. Such a tiny amount in a fraction of a second can be ebough to cause death!!
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Warning
Inhaling Helium can also result in serious lung injuries and/or suffocation. Do not inhale Helium from a balloon or a Helium tank under any circumstances!
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It's not the helium ,as such, that is the danger. It's removing the oxygen from the lungs and the risk of pressure damage to the tissue of the lungs.

Helium is used as an additional gas source in technical diving. Divers using heliox gas mixes can use full face masks with microphones and sound like cartoon characters when talking.

Don't let kids breath the helium from balloons to be on the safe side. There is quite a lot of pressure in some of the commercially supplied balloons and if a child had a lung weakness that wasn't known about, the consequences could be severe
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It is the depletion of oxygen that can cause brain damage.
Helium is too dangerous to play with, as any gas not containing enough of oxygen, besides that they can also be poisonous.

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Comedy television and radio programmes often use helium as a device to get laughs. This portrays helium inhalation as a fun, safe practice when, in effect, it is deadly. Public figures are influential in the minds of the public and they need to realise that they could either die from helium use or be indirectly responsible for the death of another.

BOC Gases is deeply concerned about the misuse of Balloon Gas and is going to great efforts to inform the public that helium inhalation can be fatal. Unfortunately with people continuing to ignore the dangers of this potentially lethal practice, it is a difficult task to educate the public that HELIUM INHALATION IS NO LAUGHING MATTER!