First off, I’d like to say that I’m not a big helium inhaler partly because I was always worried about inhaling a gas no matter what it made me sound like. But when I read about a woman from Delaware County who apparently is said to have committed suicide using helium, I freaked out. Kids think it’s the funniest thing in the world to inhale that stuff, and I’m sure a few adults have done it for fun themselves. So to hear that you can kill yourself by inhaling it is scary.
I’m no expert, but I think the gas is dangerous in humans for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons is that it can pass through the blood stream to the brain. Who wants a stroke because they inhaled helium to sound like a native of Oz?
The second problem with inhaling it is that it confuses the energy system in the blood stream. Your organs require oxygen to operate right? Well, strangely, our bodies don’t recognize that we are low on oxygen. I know that sounds incredibly wrong, but it’s true, instead we recognize too much Carbon dioxide? But this gas, helium, makes us think we are okay by faking our systems into believing we aren’t suffering from a lack of oxygen. You could die simply by not getting enough oxygen, and it’s horrible, but some people must be buying kits with helium so that they can commit suicide.
Yes, I said using helium to suicide is horrible. I’m sure there are arguments for people wanting to make their own choices about death, but sticking a plastic hood on your head to inhale a gas seems kind of sad doesn’t it? Well, it does to me.
I’m sure dying from helium inhalation is an oddity, or at least I hope it is, but look, what is the point of even inhaling it? It doesn’t make you feel any different, unless you inhale too much that is. It is just a game to make your voice sound funny. Just don’t do it, and gently remind other people that it’s potentially dangerous.
What do you say?