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Health, American Association Of Poison Control Centers, Dejah Reed, Steven E. Lipshultz,Cinnamon, Cinnamon Challenge, Cinnamon Challenge Risks, Cinnamon Challenge Warning, Cinnamon Warning, Cinnamon-Challenge-Dangerous, Pediatrics, Teen Health, Parents News
Don't take the cinnamon challenge
CHICAGO -- . That's the advice from doctors in a new report about a dangerous prank depicted in popular YouTube videos but which has led to hospitalizations and a surge in calls to U.S. poison centers.
The fad involves daring someone to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without water. But the spice is caustic, and trying to gulp it down can cause choking, throat irritation, breathing trouble and even collapsed lungs, the report said.
Published online Monday in Pediatrics, the report said at least 30 teens nationwide needed medical attention after taking the challenge last year.
The number of poison control center calls about teens doing the prank "has increased dramatically," from 51 in 2011 to 222 last year, 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 an alert posted on the association's website.
Thousands of YouTube videos depict kids attempting the challenge, resulting in an "orange burst of dragon breath" spewing out of their mouths and sometimes hysterical laughter from friends watching the stunt, said report co-author Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz, a pediatrics professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Cinnamon is made from tree bark and contains cellulose fibers
that don't easily break down. Animal research suggests that when cinnamon gets into the lungs, it can cause scarring, Lipshultz said.
Dr. Stephen Pont, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics and an Austin, Texas pediatrician, said the report is "a call to arms to parents and doctors to be aware of things like the cinnamon challenge" and to pay attention to what their kids are viewing online.
An Ypsilanti, Mich., teen who was hospitalized for a collapsed lung after trying the cinnamon challenge heartily supports the new advice and started her own website – _ telling teens to "just say no" to the fad. http://nocinnamonchallenge.com
Dejah Reed Story about cinnamon
I’m from Ypsilanti, Michigan. I’d like to tell you my story of what happened to me. I did the Cinnamon Challenge four times. It was okay for the first three times. The fourth time, I was with a friend. She wanted to do the Cinnamon Challenge, but not alone. So, I decided to do it with her. I thought everything would be okay, even If I didn’t like the feeling of it. So, we did it and she ended up spitting it out. I ended up laughing, coughing it out and inhaled it. It went into my right lung and caused it to collapse. I told my friend to call my dad for me since I couldn’t talk that well. I was rushed into the U of M hospital in Ann Arbor. I stayed for four days on my mid-winter break. It was a lesson learned and I realized how dangerous it is. Ever since this happened to me, I’ve been telling everyone the dangers that can come from this challenge. For those who haven’t done it yet, I beg you not to do it! There are still people that are doing it or wanting to do it. So, I’ve come this far to let the world know how dangerous it is. It could risk your health. Thanks for reading my story.
Dejah Reed, 16, said she took the challenge four times – the final time was in February last year with a friend who didn't want to try it alone.
"I was laughing very hard and I coughed it out and I inhaled it into my lungs," she said. "I couldn't breathe."
Her father, Fred Reed, said he arrived home soon after to find Dejah "a pale bluish color. It was very terrifying. I threw her over my shoulder" and drove to a nearby emergency room.
Dejah was hospitalized for four days and went home with an inhaler and said she still has to use it when she gets short of breath from running or talking too fast. Her dad said she'd never had asthma or breathing problems before.
Dejah said she'd read about the challenge on Facebook and other social networking sites and "thought it would be cool" to try.
Now she knows "it's not cool and it's dangerous."
Don't take the cinnamon challenge
go to my website to see the video
Online: Pediatrics: http://www.aap.org
AP Medical Lindsey Tanner can be followed on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/LindseyTanner
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