Pediatricians warn that a growing number of kids are taking the "Cinnamon challenge," a stunt that has landed some in the ER, HealthDay reported.
This is cinnamon challenge: Swallow a tablespoon of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without the help of a drink. Invariably, the taker ends up gagging and coughing up the spice, creating a big brown cloud dubbed "dragon breath."
Onlookers apparently find it funny, said Dr. Steven Lipshultz, a pediatrics professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. There are over 51,000 YouTube clips of the stunt -- one of which was viewed more than 19 million times as of last August, Lipshultz and his colleagues report in the May issue of Pediatrics.
But it can be dangerous. Usually you suffer burning in the throat, mouth and nose, and a bad cough. However, you can inhale the ground cinnamon, causing lung scarring and even lung collapse.
In 2011, Lipshultz's team said, U.S. poison control centers fielded 51 calls related to the stunt. In just the first half of 2012, there were 122 calls linked to "misuse or abuse" of the spice.
At least 30 challenge takers have needed medical attention, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Late last year, ER doctors at the Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill., saw about a dozen 9-year-olds who'd tried the stunt.
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