Air Duster Abuse and Addiction

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When people think about drug abuse, their first thoughts might be of illicit substances like cocaine or heroin. Yet, many other substances are abused and can lead to addiction. Some of these addictive substances include prescription medicines, over-the-counter medications, or even common household items. Cans of air duster are among these household items and can become addictive and damaging to the body. Air duster is also called ‘canned air’ but, in reality, there is actually no air inside the can. Canned air is made of compressed gasses. These products are used to clean dust by blasting the gaps in keyboards where liquid cleaners can’t be used. Some of the gases found in canned air include difluoroethane, trifluoroethane, and butane. These gasses are compressed into a can that is similar to an aerosol container. Unfortunately, air duster abuse is incredibly common and it can cause serious side effects or even death. There is a misconception that getting high from air duster is not dangerous because “it’s only air.” This is not true, and this myth can and often does result in deaths caused by air duster abuse. Since air duster is so readily available and inexpensive, it is commonly abused by young children and teens as well -which is especially alarming. There have been efforts in many states to make it more difficult to buy air duster, particularly for young people. Despite those efforts, air duster abuse remains a troubling problem.
Air duster is an inhalant. When someone inhales the gasses and chemicals in these products, the lungs absorb them and they travel to the brain. An air duster high is characterized by feelings of intoxication, lightheadedness, euphoria and confusion. An air duster high can also create feelings of dizziness and impairment of judgment. Other signs of an air duster high can include slurred speech and temporary paralysis. Hallucinations may occur, as can muscle spasms, nausea, vomiting, and numbness of the throat and tongue. It’s estimated that around 10 percent of Americans aged 12 years and older have misused an inhalant, including air duster. The practice of getting high from air duster is often called huffing or dusting. An air duster high can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
Air Duster High
Despite how common air duster abuse is, many people remain unaware of the risks and dangers. When someone abuses air duster, the gases they are inhaling can remove carbon dioxide from the blood and oxygen from the lungs. This process is what creates the feelings of euphoria that people are seeking. It is also responsible for resulting damage to the brain and nerves. Air duster addiction and abuse can cause changes in heart’s rhythm or even sudden heart failure, which is potentially deadly. These adverse effects could occur after using air duster only one time. Symptoms of air duster abuse may also include heart arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy.

Other short-term effects of air duster abuse may include seizures, suffocation, asphyxiation, and a lack of oxygen delivered to the brain. Air duster abuse can result in a loss of consciousness and coma. People who are abusing air duster may exhibit poor judgement, putting themselves or others at risk.

So what happens when you inhale air duster repeatedly? Abuse can lead to addiction and, additionally, it may cause serious long-term damage to the body. It can damage the brain in the hippocampus region. The hippocampus region of the brain is responsible for learning and communication, so it is important for carrying out something as basic as having a conversation. When it is damaged, a person can become severely impaired. When a person inhales air duster, it can also break down the tissue that protects the nerves throughout the body. When this tissue is damaged, it can make basic functions like walking and talking more difficult. Over time, air duster inhalation can also cause muscle weakness, kidney and liver damage, and weight loss.

When someone inhales air duster, there is the potential for something called Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome to occur. This can happen after inhaling air duster just one time. With Sudden Sniffing Death Syndrome, a person experiences heart failure suddenly and without warning.

Air duster abuse and air duster addiction are serious problems, and the issue has led most states in the United States to enact laws that make it illegal for persons under the age of 18 to purchase the product. Unfortunately, even with these restrictive laws air duster is still easy to find since it is a household item, as are most other inhalants. Even though it is a safe household cleaning product, inhaling air duster is very dangerous and can cause heart failure, damage to the organs and brain, and can even result in death.

If you or a loved is experiencing air duster abuse or addiction, please contact The Recovery Village. Our team will help you understand air duster abuse, and learn how you or your loved one can get help and recover from this dangerous and deadly substance abuse problem.


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