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Helium Not Funny
Image: Disney

Helium: Fatal not Funny

Helium, when used safely, has a wide range of uses and applications ranging from

It’s OK – you can admit it. We’ve all done it at one time or another and if you haven’t, you’ll know someone that has.

It’s almost become commonplace to see at least one person inhale helium from balloons at family gatherings, functions or parties at some point.

However, inhaling helium with or without a balloon is extremely dangerous and can be fatal.  

Remember: fatal, not funny.

The high pitched tone of voice that results from inhaling helium has been making people laugh for centuries. Harmless, right?

Well, not quite. Even a small amount of helium drawn directly from a balloon can result in death.

Mental Floss describes why a person’s voice sounds higher after inhaling helium.

“When you inhale helium, you’re changing the type of gas molecules in your vocal tract and increasing the speed of the sound of your voice. Some people think that helium changes the pitch of your voice, but the vibration frequency of the vocal cords doesn’t change along with the type of gas molecules that surround them.”

In 2013, the UK saw a 500% increase in helium related deaths. It’s a trend that’s worrying many as the problem seems to be inflating.

Helium is an inert gas, meaning it displaces oxygen in the body, and we all know what happens when the body runs out of oxygen.

After inhaling a balloon full of helium, a person may faint or even suffer asphyxiation and die. This is because of the displacement of oxygen and the body’s inability to respire and deliver vital oxygen to the cells.

Ashley Long, a 14-year-old from Oregon, USA, died quickly after inhaling helium.

In 2013, the UK saw a 500% increase in helium related deaths. It’s a trend that’s worrying many, as there seems to be no relenting from the ‘novelty’ gas.

Christmas and New Year are just around the corner so it’s safe to say the party season is upon us and you’re likely to come across helium at some point.  But if you do, remember the dangers associated with helium and try and prevent others from inhaling it.

You could just save a life.

For more facts on helium, check out this website. To view our specialist helium gas monitors, click here.


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