A Word about the "Cinnamon Challenge"

This "challenge" or "game" has been around for at least 10 years but, thanks in part to the Internet, it's lately had a surge in popularity over the past several months. The trouble is, kids are trying the "Cinnamon Challenge," and it can be dangerous.

What is it?

The challenge is to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon, without taking any water and in less than 60 seconds. Doesn't sound too exciting, does it? The problem (and challenge) is that the cinnamon dries out the mouth and can then get stuck in the throat, which can cause the person to start gagging and vomiting, or worse.

Why the sudden popularity?

Public figures such as the Governor of Illinois and some NBA players have recently taken the challenge publicly. Also, thousands of videos have exploded on the Internet showing people doing it and, over the past 3 months, the number of viewings of these videos has increased exponentially. So, of course, teenagers have been jumping on the bandwagon in droves.

What's the risk?

When the cinnamon does get stuck in the throat, the "challenger" has difficulty breathing in air and could possibly choke. And there's the additional risk of inhaling the cinnamon right down into the lungs, which can irritate and inflame them. Newspaper stories have reported cases where the "Cinnamon Challenge" has sent teens to the hospital with lung problems.

What to do?

Talk to your child and make them aware of the risks of the "Cinnamon Challenge." This is a great time to discuss how, even if "everyone's doing it," that doesn't mean that "it" is a good idea. It's also a great reminder to all of us to continue keeping tabs on what our children are looking at on the Internet.

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