It sounds innocent enough – swallowing a tablespoon of cinnamon within 60 seconds without the help of a drink. Yet most of the people who take the Cinnamon Challenge, as it’s been called, end up gagging or coughing up the spice creating a puff of brown breath called “dragon breath.” Thousands of amateur YouTube videos have been made of kids taking the Cinnamon Challenge. But the stunt isn’t all fun and games.
While most people suffer burning in the throat, mouth and nose, or a bad cough, some challengers have inhaled the spice into their lungs requiring immediate medical attention, and at least one kid suffered a collapsed lung. And if the challenger throws up – which is not uncommon – he can inhale the vomit into his lungs, which may cause inflammation and an infection known as aspiration pneumonia.
Pediatricians are urging kids not to take the Cinnamon Challenge because the effects can last a lifetime. A recent animal study published in the May issue of Pediatrics found that a single dose of cinnamon can cause long-term inflammation, thickening and scarring in the lungs.
Unfortunately, the challenge is becoming more popular. In 2011, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received about 50 calls related to the Cinnamon Challenge. In the first six months of 2012, that number more than doubled to 122.
Kids are likely to lose interest in the Cinnamon Challenge eventually, but it won’t be long before they find another stunt meant for fun but can cause serious harm. For example, at least two children have choked to death after taking on the Chubby Bunny challenge, where someone shoves as many marshmallows into his mouth as possible and then tries to say “chubby bunny.”
Source: US News