Getting high is not only costly for your wallet but also for your health. A 40-year-old man in Michigan decided to cut corners when he huffed three cans of air duster over four hours and smoked a pack of cigarettes before collapsing in a public restroom at a grocery store. The unidentified man was rushed to the hospital, where he was treated for frostbite and breathing problems, according to the cast report published in BMJ Case Reports.

"It's a quick, cheap, and easy high. It happens in all age groups, and it's dangerous to the point of life threatening,” Dr. Amanda Winston, an internal medicine and pediatrics resident at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich., who treated the man and co-authored the case report, told Live Science. Inhalant abuse is potentially life-threatening because it often causes complications in the central nervous system, depression, cardiac arrhythmia, and hypoxia. However, Winston and her colleagues admitted inhalant-induced angioedema, such as seen by the Michigan patient, is rare.

The doctors speculate the air dusters, which contain 1,1-difluoroethane, a colorless gas used as a refrigerant, along with the compressed air in the air duster is what led to the man’s frostbite and the tissue damage on his face, according to the Hurley Medical Center blog. The man’s symptoms included shortness of breath, a tingling sensation in his lips and tongue, swelling, trouble breathing, and swallowing. The patient had a tube put into his throat and was placed on a ventilator to help him breathe.

Man experiences severe swelling after huffing air duster
Michigan man experiences angioedema after huffing three aired cans in four hours. BMJ

He then received steroids and antihistamines to keep the inflammation at bay and some antibiotics to ensure he didn’t have a bacterial infection. Five days later, the ventilator was removed and the swelling and blistering started to go away with the help of the treatment. This case is considered to be highly rare due to the swelling of the tissue just under the surface of his skin.

The dangers of inhalant abuse are often undermined by teenagers, who are commonly seen huffing, since they can’t afford other recreational drugs. They are the only class of substance abused more by younger than by older teens, says the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, adults like the Hurley patient are prone to abusing these common household substances such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids, which contain unstable substances that have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties when huffed.

The number of lives lost due to inhalant abuse each year is unknown, since the deaths are often attributed to other causes. Huffing could just be a temporary but potentially deadly “legal” high.