Medically reregarded by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA — Written by Adrienne Santos-Longhurst on February 3, 2020

*
Share on Pinterest
You inhale helium from a balloon, and also almost as if by magic, you sound like a cartoon chipmunk. Hilarrrious.

Harmless as it may seem, though, inhaling helium have the right to be dangerous — deadly, in truth. There are many situation reports of severe injury and also also fatality led to by helium inhalation.


When you inhale helium, it displaces oxygen. This indicates that as you inhale, your body is only gaining helium.

Oxygen plays a role in eincredibly function of your body. Anytime you don’t get enough of it, you’re placing yourself at danger. Many kind of of the threats are the same as with various other inhalants.

You are watching: Does helium kill brain cells


Normally, inhaling a solitary breath of helium from a balloon will have actually the wanted, voice-altering effect. It could additionally reason a little of dizziness.

That shelp, there’s always the potential for other results, including:

Inhaling helium from a balloon isn’t most likely to cause major health problems or kill you, yet it’s not impossible. There have actually been news reports of some folks, especially young children, dying from asphyxiation after inhaling helium from a balloon.


The majority of severe health and wellness worries and deaths pertained to helium inhalation involve inhaling helium from a pressurized tank. These are the same tanks used to fill helium balloons at events or party supply stores.

Tanks not only host a lot even more helium than your daily party balloon, but they also release the helium with much more force.

The more pure helium you inhale, the much longer your body is without essential oxygen. Breapoint in pure helium can reason death by asphyxiation in simply minutes.

Inhaling helium from a pressurized tank can also reason a gas or air embolism, which is a bubble that becomes trapped in a blood vessel, blocking it. The blood vessels have the right to rupture and hemorrhage.

Finally, the helium can likewise enter your lungs via enough force to reason your lungs to rupture.


I just inhaled some — am I in danger?

If you’ve inhaled a bit of helium from a balloon and are just feeling a small fuzzy or dizzy, or have actually a mild headache, you’re probably fine. Have a seat, breathe generally, and wait it out.

If your symptoms are more serious or if you’ve lost consciousness, have someone take you to the nearest emergency room — much better safe than sorry.

If you’ve huffed helium from a pressurized container, your symptoms could be a little even more serious. Aget, if you feel fine various other than a little of dizziness, you probably don’t have anypoint to problem about.

Watch for symptoms that might be a authorize of more severe problems in the coming minutes and hrs.

If you or someone else experiences any kind of of the adhering to after inhaling helium, call 911 appropriate away:


So, does this expect I can never get that high-pitched voice again?

Not necessarily, yet it’s important to remember that doing so isn’t without risk. That sassist, you must absolutely stop huge balloons and pressurized tanks.

You should also steer clear of all helium if you have a lung or heart condition.

Stick with little party balloons if you have to and also follow these tips:

Do it sitting down in case you get lightheaded or pass out to mitigate your risk of injury.Make certain someone else is through you that deserve to help if symptoms execute take place.Don’t let youngsters inhale from balloons. Not just are they even more vulnerable to having actually a bad reactivity, however they’re additionally even more at risk to inhaling parts of the balloon or choking.
The bottom line

A one-off breath of helium from a tiny balloon for a laugh is unlikely to be catastrophic, but it can cause dizziness and make you pass out.

Have a seat so you don’t have actually far to fall and avoid channeling your inner munchkin by inhaling from a helium tank or huge balloon.

See more: Can You Say Goddamn On The Radio, Bleeping Out Words : Npr Public Editor

Even a few secs without oxygen can have serious impacts.


Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has composed extensively on all points wellness and lifestyle for even more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her composing burned relooking an write-up or off interviewing health experts, she can be found frolicking about her beach town through husband also and also dogs in tow, or splashing about the lake trying to understand the stand-up paddleboard.


Last medically reperceived on February 3, 2020


*

Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA — Written by Adrienne Santos-Longhurst on February 3, 2020

Read this next


AboutCareersAdvertise with us
OUR BRANDS