Girl hospitalized after 10-day 'laughing gas' binge

By Minh An   April 17, 2023 | 06:14 am PT
Girl hospitalized after 10-day 'laughing gas' binge
A Vietnamese youth inhales a balloon filled with laughing gas at a nightclub in Hanoi. Photo by AFP
A teenager in the northern province of Quang Ninh has been hospitalized with spinal cord damage after inhaling 10 nitrous oxide balloons a day for 10 days straight.

The 15-year-old unnamed child was taken to the Bai Chay hospital with numb limbs, fatigue, difficulty walking and weight loss. Scans revealed spinal cord damage, and doctors are now monitoring her for signs of nitrous oxide poisoning.

She is currently being treated with high-pressure oxygen and neurotransmitters.

Nitrous oxide balloons, also known as "funky balls," are balloons filled with nitrous oxide, which can be inhaled for recreational purposes. Inhaling nitrous oxide may cause euphoria and slight hallucinations, but can also cause neurological damage.

Prolonged use of nitrous oxide can lead to poisoning, nerve damage and potentially coma and death.

The Ministry of Health banned nitrous oxide for recreational purposes in 2019. In Vietnam, nitrous oxide, also known as "laughing gas," may only be manufactured for industrial purposes. Ingestion by humans is prohibited unless prescribed by doctors.

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