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HomeHealthKidsAmerican Academy of Pediatrics warns against the ‘Cinnamon Challenge’

American Academy of Pediatrics warns against the ‘Cinnamon Challenge’


Cinnamon Challenge poses health threat

There were more than 50,000 YouTube videos depicting youth attempting this activity as of August 2012, and they show the subjects coughing and choking as the spice triggers a severe gag reflex in response to a caustic sensation in the mouth and throat, according to AAP. Eating cinnamon in small amounts, mixed with other foods, does not cause these problems for most people, but larger amounts can be harmful because of the fibers and other components of the spice.

According to the authors, this stunt has raised concerns in the medical community of choking, aspiration (breathing substances into the lungs) and lung damage. Some adolescents have gone to the emergency department after taking the Cinnamon Challenge, and some have required hospitalization for collapsed lungs. At least 30 youth in the United States have needed medical attention, according to the article. There also were 178 calls to U.S. poison control centers in 2012 related to this stunt.

While the authors note that the effects are temporary in most cases, there can be long-lasting lesions, scarring and inflammation of the airway. This activity may pose greater and unnecessary health risks for people who are allergic to cinnamon or who have respiratory diseases such as asthma. The authors advise that the combination of social media, peer pressure and a trendy new fad can be tough to resist for children and teens, so it is important for pediatricians, parents and schools to counsel about the risks of choosing to take part in this activity.

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