PSA – the hidden dangers of balloon blowing

The following is a true story…

I felt like it was my civic duty to warn the world about the dangers of preparing for your pre-teen’s birthday party.  Hence the following public service announcement.  Please pass this along to anyone you know who might be at risk.

No, it’s not what you might think – The danger doesn’t come from accidentally serving peanuts to the one girl who’s allergic.  Nor does it come from choosing music that is no longer popular.

I am here to warn you that blowing up balloons is seriously dangerous to your health, and may even be LIFE THREATENING!!!

Let me ‘splain…

A few hours before my daughter’s guests were to arrive, I began blowing up balloons. They were unusually stubborn and hard to get started, but since I’m such a great momma, I persevered.

I could feel the crackling sensation in my lower jaw, an unfortunate but not uncommon side-effect that I’m sure we’ve all experienced.  When I was finished, I gathered my balloons and headed out to put them up.

On my way I passed a mirror – OMG!  The left side of my face was swollen as big as the balloons I was blowing up.  My skin crackled when I touched it and it hurt to open my mouth.

My first reaction was to show my husband, hoping for some answers (and some sympathy).

I got neither.

What I got was my dear hubby, laughing violently while declaring, “Only YOU could get hurt from blowing up balloons!”

Confession:  I was voted the “Most Accident Prone” in my senior class in High School.  I have a full page just for me in the class superlatives section of the yearbook.  So he wasn’t entirely off…

Not knowing what to do, I sent a group text to anyone I knew that had medical experience and could explain this insanity to me.  That list included an EMT, RN, and Eye (Retina) Surgeon.

The answers started pouring in:

  • Allergic reaction to the latex? – No
  • Abcess tooth? – No
  • Spontaneous cervicofacial subcutaneous emphysema? – yes of course!  Why didn’t I think of that?

Can you believe that’s actually a thing?!  Instead of getting air into the balloons, I was forcing air into a gland in my cheek.  With every breath I was inflating my face!

Who are other suffers of this condition?  Glad you asked.  The list includes:

  • Gunshot or stabbing victims
  • Gangrene
  • Blunt force trauma of an accident
  • oh, and did I mention balloon blowing?

If I hadn’t stopped blowing up the balloons when I did, I could have forced the air not only into my face, but into my chest cavity.  They would have to surgically drain me to release all the air.  Internal organs could have ruptured.

Again – OMG!!!

You will now be able to find me sitting at a table at the entrance of my local grocery store, asking folks to sign a petition for warning labels to be required on every balloon sold in America.

BALLOON BLOWERS BEWARE!  You have been warned.

What say you? I'd really like to know!

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