Helium gas is an amazing substance and most of us know two of its properties. One, it is lighter than air so balloons filled with it will float, two is that if you suck the gas out of helium balloons, it will change your voice for a brief time so you can talk funny. Many people do this, but there is much more involve than just sounding like a goofy cartoon character, it is can be a dangerous and even deadly game! Helium has become commonplace, and often times we forget that it is still a gas and you wouldn’t breathe in other gases for fun, so you should not do it with helium either. Working with helium gas safely must be a primary concern and understanding the safe use of helium gas is essential to ensuring the health and safety of everyone at the next birthday party you throw! At US Gas, we are committed to not just being the leading supplier of helium gas, but to be a leader in public education in regards to how to safely use helium gas!

Why Does Helium Change Your Voice?

During normal speech, your vocal chords to make the sounds vibrate with air moving over the and then the mouth, lips and tongue turn that vibration into sound and into speech. Helium is not as dense as air so it interacts with your vocal chords differently and makes the vibrations sound different. The sounds of your words are moving faster through the helium than they do through air so it takes less time to go from your vocal cords to your mouth so it can be heard by others.  With each breath of normal air you take in, the helium dissipates and your voice will soon return to normal when all the helium is out of your lungs.

Danger of Asphyxiation With Helium

helium gasHelium in and of itself is not poisonous because it is what is called an inert gas.  It is dangerous, though, because it can act as an asphyxiant when inhaled instead and when the lungs fill with it instead of normal air. You won’t die from fumes like you would from breathing in something like natural gas, but you can die because your lungs are not getting oxygen and you will suffocate.  This is known as Inert Gas Asphyxiation. Filling the lungs with anything other than oxygen creates an absence of oxygen and causes your lungs to starve and you will start to suffocate.  This will quickly trigger the body’s oxygen level to drop dangerously low and initiate what is known as Hypoxia. It may be fun, but putting helium in your lungs can be dangerous and it is important that everyone knows that working with helium gas safely is a must and here at US Gas we focus on spreading the word and helping to educate more people about the safe use of helium gas.

Dangers of Oxygen Depletion

Sudden and drastic drop in oxygen levels can cause Hypoxia, which is a life-threatening condition. Generalized hypoxia can cause dizziness, confusion, disorientation, nausea, memory loss, abnormal heart function, rapid heartbeat, unconsciousness and, in severe cases can lead to death.

Embolism or experiencing a ruptured lung are other possible side effects of breathing in helium and filling your lungs with it rather than oxygen. Inhaling helium into your lungs deeply or sucking it directly from a gas cylinder is even more dangerous. If you completely fill your lungs with it, more time is needed to flush it out and replace with oxygen, which give more time for things to go wrong. Helium right from the canister is highly pressurized and putting too much pressurized gas in your lungs can cause an embolism, the technical term for a blockage of a blood vessel that is caused by a bubble of gas blocking the blood flow within the arteries. This can cause a stroke, seizures or death.

Lung ruptures occur when helium kills the cells in the air sacs that line the lungs. When these sacks are destroyed, oxygen cannot be absorbed and bleeding can occur, which in severe cases can lead to the victim drowning in their own blood. It is risks like this that cause us at US Gas to focus on helping people learn the proper way of working with helium gas safely and promoting the safe use of helium gas- so these terrible things do not have to happen to anyone else!

Be Safe with Helium Balloon Gas

It is easy to see that while helium gas is fun to use to fill brightly colored balloons, it should stay in the balloons and never be inhaled intentionally!  Sure, it makes you sound funny and is a neat party trick, and yes, a quick 10 second suck on a helium balloon may not hurt you, but it could, and repeat performances significantly increase the risks! It just is not worth the risk. At US Gas we are committed to supplying a safe and reliable source of helium for a range of applications and uses and working with helium gas safely is always our top priority. For more information on the safe use of helium gas, contact us today and let us show you how wonderful helium can be when it is used correctly!