Will a helium birthday balloon hurt me?
Helium balloons - breathing gas is life-threatening
To create Mickey Mouse voices, children like to experiment with helium gas from balloons. However, the colorless and odorless gas is harmful to life if it is inhaled too often.
Children shouldn't experiment with helium gas from balloons to create Mickey Mouse voices. The colorless and odorless gas is harmful to health if it is inhaled too long or too often in a row, warns the professional association of paediatricians (BVKJ) in Cologne. "The insidious thing about it is that unconsciousness can occur without warning, as the gas displaces oxygen from the function unnoticed by those affected," explains BVKJ spokesman Ulrich Fegeler. "In particular, if helium is inhaled from gas cylinders, a life-threatening situation can quickly arise because the gas escapes there at high pressure."
Children are thrilled when helium creates a distorted voice when speaking, but parents should forbid them to use it unsupervised. Because helium can, among other things, cause a brain embolism with a stroke
Strokes occur more frequently during the low blood pressure around 3 o'clock in the morning (midnight stroke) or during the second low blood pressure in the afternoon. The symptoms of the disease usually set in suddenly and depend on the location of the infarction. The first signs can be severe headaches, pronounced clouding of consciousness or even loss of consciousness. A one-sided paralysis usually develops in the arm and face area. At first the paralyzed side is slack (in the face e.g. as a drooping corner of the mouth and swelling of the cheek on the paralyzed side when exhaling = "tobacco bubbles"), later uncontrolled twitching can occur. A cerebral circulation disorder is either the result of a thrombotic or embolic vascular occlusion (ischemic cerebral infarction) or a spontaneous rupture of the blood vessels with subsequent bleeding (hemorrhagic cerebral infarction).
Ischemic Stroke: Cerebral infarction, which is caused by blood congestion due to blocked vessels and therefore leads to an insufficient supply of the brain cells with oxygen. An ischemic cerebral infarction due to insufficient blood flow in an end artery area with sudden vascular occlusion of the artery is the most common cause of a stroke with 80-85%.
Hemorrhagic stroke: Calcified blood vessels in the brain break open, causing bleeding in the brain. The blood supply and thus oxygen supply to the affected brain cells is interrupted or cut off and they die.
- cause similar symptoms as gas bubbles form in the blood. The brain region supplied by the affected blood vessels is cut off from the supply of nutrients and dies. In addition to permanent lung damage, inhaling helium can therefore also lead to failure of certain areas of the brain. "That is why children should never play with helium balloons alone, and appropriate fuel bottles should be kept out of their reach," advises Fegeler.
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