If you walk into a store to buy your sweetheart balloons this Valentine's day you'll notice prices are through the roof.
That's because helium is in short supply and it's causing problems for lots of local businesses.
Most of us grew up with balloons at celebrations and special events. They give parties their festive feel.
"It was almost always an add-on for a birthday to add four or five," said Seleese Thompson-Mann at Precious Memories in Temple.
But these days prices are blowing up.
"Every time we get a new tank of helium it is more," she said.
She watched helium go from $30 a tank to nearly $200 in just ten years.
And it won't just affect your valentine's day decorations.
"I think we should worry about it," said Dr. Jim Barker, system chief for pulmonary critical care and sleep disorders at Scott & White.
The hospital is one of the largest local buyers. They use a mix of helium and oxygen in the ICU for patients with singer nodules, scars, even throat cancer, while they decide how to treat them.
When a patient is hooked up to the heliox tank they're breathing carbon dioxide out and taking the mixture of helium and oxygen in.
"This will allow us to temporarily help the person breathe while we look at another option," Barker said.
But knowing we could run out of helium in five to seven years means they're already making changes: decisions are made faster to use less gas. And treatments can be more invasive. Instead of using the mix of gas, doctors sometimes use a stint to stretch the trachea wider to allow for easier breathing.
Local suppliers sometimes turn new customers away so clients like the hospital can get what they need.
"We get all kinds of calls about getting helium to people and we just don't want to take that on because if we can't supply ours well we don't wanna run out," said Temple Welding & Supply manager Arthur Deleon.
When they run out there's no telling when a new shipment comes in. All anyone can do is watch prices go up, and up.
"Six mylar balloons with the tie-downs are $39.95," said Seleese.
And one day, the gas will completely blow away.
*Note: Helium is also used in MRI machines to cool down the magnets, but Scott & White uses different forms and quantities of the gas for these machines, and has not seen many changes in recent years.