Dangerous “Cinnamon Challenge” Puts Teen in the Hospital with a Collapsed Lung

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Taking the “cinnamon challenge” sounds harmless enough, like something fun to do.   But after hearing all the warnings, you start to think that maybe it’s a warped name for some kind of new drug, like Molly.  But this warning, which comes directly from the journal Pediatrics, actually involves the spice cinnamon (the same one in your pantry), which poses an entire host of dangers that would probably surprise you.

A total of 30 teens across the country have needed medical attention in the last few weeks from taking the cinnamon challenge, according to the journal.  The challenge involves trying to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without using water.  The problem is that the spice can cause you to choke and have trouble breathing.   It can even cause your lungs to collapse.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of cases that involve calls to the poison control center.  There were 51 in 2011 and 222 in 2012, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

“People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are at greater risk of having this result in shortness of breath and trouble breathing,” according to the association’s website.

The stunt appears to be fun when no one gets hurt. But now, it’s gotten to the point that the dangers far exceed the fun. Dejah Reed, an Ypsilanti, Mich.,was sent to the hospital this month with a collapsed lung after taking the challenge.  A collapsed lung involves “the collection of air in the space around the lungs. This buildup of air puts pressure on the lung, so it cannot expand as much as it normally does when you take a breath,” according to a site hosted by the National Institutes of Health. 

Warn your kids to be careful and not go chasing every random fad on YouTube.