Computer duster is also called canned air. It’s a common household item, and it’s pretty easily accessible. It also has a very dark side that includes dangerous misuse. Air duster is used to clean parts of a computer or other electronics that can’t be cleaned with water or normal cleaning products. It’s also used as an inhalant. Huffing air duster is especially common among adolescents and young teens. The term inhalant refers to a wide variety of drugs, all of which contain vapors with psychoactive effects, inhaled through the nose. Inhalants are made up of different chemicals which can be classified into certain groups. These groups are volatile solvents, gases, nitrates and aerosols. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated in 2015 that around 10% of Americans aged 12 and older had misused inhalant products including air duster at some point. There are both short-term side effects of air duster and long-term effects.
One of the immediate air duster high side effects is a sense of euphoria, which is why people misuse these substances. Huffing canned air can also cause hallucinations and delusions, which some people consider part of being high on these drugs. Other immediate air duster high side effects can include loss of inhibitions, impairment of decision-making, slurred speech and, in some cases, temporary paralysis. Air duster high side effects usually last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Along with the air duster high side effects that people who use air duster find desirable, dangerous or deadly side effects can occur as well. Short-term air duster side effects can include:
- Breathing problems
- Loss of coordination and motor control
- Frostbite of the nose, throat and mouth
While the above are common air duster side effects, side effects can be deadly as well. There is a condition dubbed “sudden sniffing death.” Sudden sniffing death causes deadly heart failure, and it can occur during the first experience someone has huffing air duster. Sudden death from huffing air duster has occurred because of specific heart issues including arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy and something called myocardial sensitization. Sudden cardiac failure and death aren’t the only air duster side effects that people should be aware of. Other air duster side effects can include seizures, loss of oxygen to the brain, asphyxiation, and loss of consciousness or coma. Some signs a person could be misusing air duster include:
- Finding air duster or empty canned air cans lying around, in a car or in the trash
- Chemical-soaked rags
- Residue left behind on clothes and hands
- Throat or tongue problems
- Bloodshot eyes
- People can seem confused or have problems concentrating
- Mood swings
- Problems walking
- Changes in physical appearance
The gases contained in canned air are actually poisonous toxins when they’re inhaled. Long-term air duster individuals can suffer from cognitive impairment and permanent brain damage. Research shows huffing air duster and inhalants can damage membranes in the brain, lead to problems in the functionality of the brain stem and can cause a variety of sensory and motor issues that are ongoing. Other long-term effects of huffing air duster may include toxicity of bone marrow, ongoing slurred speech and hearing loss, tremors, vision problems and mood disorders. Inhaling air duster can cause damage to the central nervous system, the liver, the heart, the kidneys and the lungs. Over time it’s also possible to become addicted to air duster. Huffing air duster is physically and psychologically damaging and can be deadly.
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