SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) -there's a fad playing out on the internet that is ending with kids in the hospital, and it's happening right here in Utah.
It's called the cinnamon challenge and it's all over YouTube. The goal: take a tablespoon of cinnamon, put it in your mouth and hold it there for one minute. It usually ends in a cloud of the spice, coughing and vomiting.
It is the cloud of spice that worries doctors. They say, as the participants gasp for breath in the aftermath of the challenge, they are taking the particles deep into their lungs. Chakravarthy Reddy, a University of Utah pulmonologist "There actually have been reports of kids inhaling cinnamon and developing acute respiratory failure, and getting admitted to intensive care units where they have been put on ventilators."
Dr. Reddy says cinnamon is a potent, organic, chemical compound that is difficult to expel once inhaled. "It is small particulate matter so it can actually get all of the way down into your alveoli and once it’s there, your lung really cannot get it by itself. It's not like you can cough it out."
He says cinnamon chemicals are released. They draw fluid from the bloodstream into the lungs. The lungs then become incapable of transferring oxygen to the body, and what started out as naive fun with a kitchen spice, can lead to a trip to the hospital. "This is not child’s play this is pretty serious"
Dr. Reddy says parents should warn their children of all ages that this may look fun online, but could potentially kill them, especially if they have asthma.