'Cinnamon challenge' could pose serious health risk


by ABC News


Posted on March 9, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 9 at 4:02 PM

(ABC News) --The viral dare that's become known as the cinnamon challenge - people trying to swallow a teaspoon of the spice without drinking water – may be endangering lives.

Videos posted online show just how difficult the “challenge” can be. What seems like an innocent trick could actually pose a serious health risk.

It was Mary Poppins who said "a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down," but a spoonful of cinnamon helps the internet go nuts.

It's the viral dare that calls for swallowing cinnamon without drinking anything for sixty seconds. There are hundreds of videos online devoted to this so called “cinnamon challenge.”

It wasn't too long ago we saw NBA players Nick Young and Javale McGee failed the “spice” game, and even though it may seem to be all fun, there are also some serious health hazards.

 "If you have some fine particles, like cinnamon in your lungs, it may be hard to clear out," Dr. Robert Zaid, Providence Hospital, said.

 Ann Arbor High School freshman Dejah Reed tried it and the result weren’t good.

“I was laughing. It got caught in my throat, I got dizzy and I just couldn't breathe at all. It almost killed me that night,” Reed said.

Her father never expected a viral craze would result in his daughter in the emergency room.

“She was in and out of consciousness, really pale, she couldn't breathe at all,” Dejah’s dad said.

Dejah spent four days in the hospital. She’s lucky - there is evidence it can cause lung damage, especially to people with asthma.

School districts are now warning students about the potential dangers of this cinnamon challenge.

“There have been several cases reported where kids needed ventilator support because they weren't able to maintain their airway," Zaid said.

Despite the risks, the videos keep coming and it’s a craze that will likely continue until a new dumb, perhaps dangerous one takes over.