Nothing sweet about ‘cinnamon challenge’
In the classic Christmas movie, “A Christmas Story,” you probably remember when Schwartz “triple-dog” dared Flick to put his tongue on the frozen flag pole in front of the school. The result: Flick’s tongue becomes stuck to the flag pole and Flick has to keep his tongue wrapped in a bandage for the rest of the day.
Kids have challenged each other to do silly things for decades with little or no harm done, but there is a new craze alarming health professionals. The “cinnamon challenge” is the latest video to go viral on the Internet website You Tube. The video shows a woman attempting to swallow a large amount of the powdered spice without drinking any water. The video has been viewed a reported 9.8 million times and has sparked an estimated 30,000 more videos of mostly teenagers taking the challenge. The videos show people taking the challenge resulting in coughing, gagging and spitting out the spice. But those are not the only dangers.
Many doctors agree that swallowing cinnamon without the aid of water is almost impossible because there is not enough saliva in the human mouth to help absorb it, which can cause people to gag almost immediately causing the person to expel the powder. Once the powder is expelled into the air, it can get into the eyes which could cause damage to the eyes and can also get into the nose and airway. Doctors warn once the spice gets into the airway and lungs, it can cause severe coughing that can lead to vomiting and possibly lung damage. In extreme cases the coughing can be so severe it causes the lungs to collapse. That is exactly what happened to a teen in Michigan.
The high school freshman reportedly had taken the challenge several times before and experienced the usual gagging and coughing. The last time the teen took the challenge, the fine powder got caught in her throat and she was not able to breathe causing her to pass out. Her father said his daughter was in and out of consciousness as he rushed her to the hospital. Doctors discovered the young teen had a collapsed right lung. The teen has decided the challenge is not all that fun anymore and has vowed never to take the challenge again. Her father says he is thankful his daughter is alive.
Kids will probably always be challenged by their peers. Parents need to talk to their kids about peer pressure and tell them that it is OK to tell their peers they do not want to do something even if they are “triple-dog” dared. Talk to your teens about the risks of the cinnamon challenge and help keep our kids safe.
Keeping Our Kids Safe is brought to by the Delaware Police Department and School Resource Officer Rod Glazer.