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Most of us have inhaled helium from a balloon, but is it actually more dangerous than we thought?
The Doctors discuss the case 9-year-old Tuesday, who inhaled helium at a birthday party and it caused her to pass out and begin seizing. She was rushed to the emergency room, where it was determined her seizures were caused by inhaling helium.
Pediatric intensivist Dr. Allan Greissman, who treated the young girl, says he had never seen this issue prior to treating Tuesday, but after researching it, he found numerous cases of helium toxicity.
"Helium is a dangerous thing. Yes it makes your voice squeaky and its fun, but people die from it," he says, explaining that inhaling the gas, which has no oxygen in it, deprives the body and can cause asphyxiation. He says death can occur and in some cases as quick as 5 to 10 seconds.
In addition to balloons, Dr. Greissman says helium tanks can be even more dangerous, as they are pressurized and put out even more helium at a greater rate.