Whippets are also referred to by other strange names, such as “whipits”, “whippits”, “whip-its”, and even “hippie crack”. A whippet is the dose of nitrous oxide that will escape from the spout of a can of whipped cream if you press the spout in a certain way before shaking it, and suck on the spout to inhale the gas that escapes. This tiny dose of nitrous oxide can make people high.
Why is there any nitrous oxide in cans of whipped cream? The small amount of nitrous oxide gas is there to power the function of the can. Nitrous oxide is a gas commonly used by dentists for minor procedures. It is a mild anesthetic. You have probably heard it referred to as “laughing gas”. But are whippets bad for you?
Are Whippets Bad For You?
Yes, “whippets” are most certainly bad for you! In fact, they are very bad and often dangerous. They can cause serious side effects, some of which may be permanent. No one should use whippets, not even once. One reason for this is the fact that whippets can be addictive, much more addictive than many people imagine. The longer and more frequently you are in the habit of taking whippets, the more you will be at risk for serious long-term side effects.
Who Does Whippets?
The practice of getting high off whippets has been getting alarmingly more popular. Unfortunately, the dangerous practice of doing whippets has been becoming more and more popular among teenagers. The incidence of whippets use in older people has also been increasing.
There is an increasing obliviousness about the potential effects of whippets in the general population. The fact that it is so cheap and easy to obtain whippets is also contributing to its dangerous prevalence.
Why Are Whippets Damaging to Health?
The nitrous oxide you inhale when you do whippets can lead to all kinds of health problems, such as suffocation, hearing loss, heart failure, damage to the kidneys and liver, bone marrow damage, damage to the brain and nervous system, and limb spasms. Additionally, there have been reports of something called “sudden sniffing death”.
When you get high from using whippets, you can experience freezing in your face that can be like frostbite. Nausea can be a short-term side effect of whippets. People who take whippets also put their vocal cords and throat at risk.
Nitrous oxide has many different effects, including a feeling of floating or dreaminess and giddiness. It has a sweet smell, and is colorless in appearance. It is essential that nitrous oxide only ever be under the direct supervision and order of a medical or dental practitioner. When you suck nitrous oxide out of a whipped cream canister, you are automatically causing severe oxygen deprivation for your brain. It can even suffocate you and cause you to pass out.
It is very possible that whippets can kill significant number of brain cells. The death of brain cells is called apoptosis. The cells most likely to die tend to be those governing memory and learning. Something called myeloneuropathy can also occur. Myeloneuropathy is when there is damage to the myelin of neurons. The myelin is what covers and protects the neurons.
This means that long-term brain damage could possibly result. Some problems in other parts of the body that myeloneuropathy can cause include issues with bladder control, problems with movement, and weakness. Much greater risk of dementia can also result.
When it is suspected that apoptosis and/or myeloneuropathy may have occurred, it is considered important to provide supervised intensive treatment with vitamin B12. While this can help, you should know that a study has indicated that only one quarter of patients experienced full recovery with this treatment.
Sudden Sniffing Death
Sudden sniffing death occurs when sniffing an inhalant (such as whippets). Sudden sniffing death is much more prevalent than you would probably imagine, especially among teenagers.
Bone Marrow Damage
The parts of the body where the bone marrow is primarily found include the ends of the axial skeleton’s long bones, the ribs, and the pelvis. When bone marrow failure occurs, white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets can be adversely affected. Conditions such as pancytopenia and single line deficiencies can occur. Some symptoms of bone marrow damage can include:
- Thrombocytopenia: Symptoms of this can include bleeding from the gums and nose, petechiae, and a tendency to bleed more easily.
- Neutropenia: Bacterial infections that are recurring or severe in nature.
- Anaemia: Symptoms of this can include breathlessness, tachycardia, pallor, weakness, and tiredness or fatigue.
Liver and Kidney Damage
The liver is the body’s second largest organ. It carries out many functions important to health, such as
- Releasing bile (bile is a liquid that helps with digestion and breaks down fats)
- Helping facilitates the necessary clotting of blood (thickening)
- Helping to control levels of cholesterol
- Ridding the body of toxins
- Helping fight illness and infection
The kidneys are responsible for ridding the body of excess fluids and waste of various kinds. Possible symptoms of kidney damage can include:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Problems with sleeping
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Chronic itching of the skin
- Chest pain
- Swollen ankles and feet
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- Changes in the volume of urination
- Compromised mental sharpness
- Breathing difficulties
What Have We Learned?
Whippets are part of the growing epidemic of inhalant abuse that is especially prevalent amongst teenagers. Whippets are dangerous, and the effects that they can have can be long-term or even permanent in nature. They can cause a wide variety of health concerns in many different parts of the body including, for example, the brain, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and liver.
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