Whip-its, power hours more dangerous than they seem: Real Talk with Shelly & Ted

Shelly Sloan is the Health Promotion Coordinator and Ted Winkworth is the Alcohol and Other Drug Program Coordinator. You can find them at The Lifestyles Center in Walker Health Center. Shelly received her master’s degree in community health education and is a certified in health education specialist. Ted received his master’s degree in counseling and is also a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor.


Dear Shelly and Ted,

My roommate was talking about whip-its and I was just arguing with her about how dangerous it is. Honestly, I don’t know really know what it is but it just seems really scary. What should I tell her?


Whip it Good


Dear Whip it Good,

A whip-it is a small can of nitrous oxide (N2O) that people sometimes inhale for a momentary high. N2O doesn’t work like other drugs because it doesn’t chemically interact with the brain to create a release in neurotransmitters. Instead, it temporarily deprives the brain of oxygen which causes the user to feel really strange and giggly until the body can get real oxygen in there. This probably sounds scary, and it is. Your brain needs oxygen to live. N2O on its own doesn’t harm the brain, but this lack of oxygen can. Many people believe N2O to be safe because it has been used in dentists’ offices as an anesthetic for over 100 years. What many don’t realize is that the dose given at the dentist is mixed with a good amount of oxygen to make sure the brain can still breathe. Many recreational users don’t take this into account and can suffocate if they don’t take appropriate safety precautions.



Dear Shelly and Ted,

I am considering doing a power hour, but I am scared that I will do damage to myself. What are the health risks of participating in a power hour?


Power Player


Dear Power Player,

Power hours, which involve drinking one shot glass full of beer every minute for 60 minutes, are great for people who want to have a bad night. Let’s do the math: most shot glasses are 1.5 ounces. Multiply that by the 60 ounces that you’ll drink over the hour and we now have 90 ounces of beer. Divide that by the 12 ounces in a standard beer and you have 7.5 beers in one hour. If you’re a a 150 lb guy your blood alcohol content will be .2. If you’re a 130 lb girl, your .bac will be closer to .26. Anyone above a .20 will be a sloppy stumbling drunk. Anyone above a .25 is likely to have a hard time standing without help and will likely be passing out/ blacking out. Planning to drink more on top of this? My guess is that unless you really know what you’re doing, you’ll be cruising for alcohol poisoning (hint: most people who know what they’re doing with alcohol don’t power hour – this is why you rarely see people over the age of 21 doing it).



Dear Shelly and Ted,

I heard that you shouldn’t eat until your stomach growls. Is that healthy?


Hungry Hungry Hippo


Dear Hungry Hungry Hippo,

No, this is not healthy. Your stomach may growl for many reasons, such as when it is empty or when it is digesting food. You should rely on your own feelings of hunger and make sure you eat at least every 4-6 hours. If you wait too long to eat you may feel fatigued and unable to concentrate. Snacking on items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts or yogurt can help control your hunger between meals. Remember to take one of these healthy items out of the dining center after each meal. Eating more frequently keeps your metabolism going and gives you energy. It also prevents you from overeating at your next meal. So if you want to stay healthy, eat more frequent smaller meals throughout the day and drink plenty of water. Listen to your body and eat as soon as you feel hungry.

-Sarah Formoza, Auxiliary Services’ Registered Dietitian


If you have a question, you can submit anonymously at www.lifestylecenter.net/RealTalk or send a Direct Message on Twitter @LSC_Oswego

Real Talk contributions by Peer Educators: Elsaa Batista, Jillian Bergemann, Halie Bloom, Kyle DeCarr, Julie Jacques and Racheal Richardson

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