Skip to main content

Search
Behavioral and Emotional Wellness

Inhalants: What Parents Need to Know

|

What They Are:

Inhalants are substances that are sniffed or huffed to give the user an immediate rush, or high. They include glues, paint thinners, dry cleaning fluids, gasoline, felt-tip marker fluid, hair spray, deodorants, spray paint, and whipped cream dispensers (whippets).

Sometimes Called:

whippets, poppers, snappers, rush, bolt, bullet

How They're Used:

These are inhaled directly from the container (called sniffing or snorting), from a plastic bag (called bagging), or by holding an inhalant-soaked rag in the mouth (called huffing).

What They Do:

Inhalants produce a quick feeling of being drunk — followed by sleepiness, staggering, dizziness, and confusion. Long-time users get headaches, nosebleeds, and sometimes lose their sense of smell. Inhalants decrease oxygen to the brain and can cause brain damage.

Using an inhalant just one time can lead to life-threatening health problems, and even cause death.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: June 2010
Originally reviewed by: Ryan L. Redman, MD

License

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995–2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

  • Cold Water Shock Can Quickly Cause Drowning
  • E-Cigs Are Addictive and Harmful
  • Bystanders Can Intervene to Stop Bullying

Download Spring 2014 (PDF)

Videos

Overcoming the Odds: A KING 5 TV Children's HealthLink Special 0:44:45Expand
12.30.13

In the spirit of the holidays, patients, parents and doctors share inspirational stories of healing and hope. From surviving heart failure and a near-death drowning to battling a flesh-eating disease, witness how the impossible became possible thanks to the care patients received at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Play Video
Miracle Season 2013 0:57:06Expand
12.11.13

Miracle Season, hosted by Steve Pool and Molly Shen, aired Dec. 8, 2013, on KOMO 4 TV. The annual holiday special celebrates the remarkable lives of Seattle Children's patients.

Play Video
Children’s Mental Health 0:00:30Expand
11.22.13

Mark Fadool, clinical director of mental health services at Odessa Brown Children's Clinic, provides early warning signs of mental health issues in kids and teens and urges us all to notice the signs and act early.

Play Video