The cinnamon challenge isn’t just difficult. It’s dangerous. It’s not just because people end up choking on and coughing up cinnamon. The challenge can have long-term consequences on the body. For the past few years, we’ve seen pictures of people planking and videos of people stuffing their mouths with marshmallows or chugging down a gallon of milk. Maybe some of you have actually been a part of these pictures or videos. These little fads are supposed to be just for fun, little challenges to laugh about with your friends. Shortly after each of these fads has garnered enough participants, however, information about their dangers emerge. Someone fell off a balcony while planking when they lost their balance. A few people have suffocated from marshmallows blocking their airways. Most who try the milk gallon challenge end up in a puddle of vomit.
Recently, the cinnamon challenge has grown in popularity, and thousands of YouTube videos continue to be put up. The challenge involves swallowing a tablespoon of ground cinnamon without water. According to professionals, the cinnamon challenge is impossible, because the cinnamon quickly absorbs any moisture in the mouth, preventing the spice from being washed down. Instead, once the cinnamon is placed into the mouth, it is inhaled into the lungs. And that’s about when the coughing and choking starts and everyone behind the camera starts laughing. The person rushes around trying to wash it all down with water, and the video usually ends there.
The problem is that the effects of the challenge don’t just stop with that glass of water. Cinnamon contains cellulose, a plant fiber that does not easily break down, so when cinnamon gets into the lungs, it stays in the lungs for a long time, and damage occurs. Coated with cinnamon oil, the cellulose can cause an inflammation in the lining of the lungs, pulmonary fibrosis. The scarring of the lining of the lungs causes shortness of breath, chronic dry coughing, fatigue, and chest pains, and because pulmonary fibrosis creates scar tissue, the scarring is permanent. The possible treatments for pulmonary fibrosis are very limited. It would be far easier to keep cinnamon out of your lungs by not trying to swallow a tablespoon of it.
People with asthma are obviously at a higher risk if they participate in this challenge. Even those without a history of lung problems, however, have suffered lung collapses, asthma, and shortness of breath after attempting the challenge. Some people who were hospitalized after the attempt had to be placed on ventilators.
As is in the case of the Chubby Bunny Marshmallow and Milk Gallon challenges, the food used is easily accessible and common in households. A lot of people seem to be under the impression that because the food is sitting around the house and is natural like cinnamon, they can be taken into the body in any way without real consequences. There’s usually very little hesitation to do these challenges because food is an everyday thing, but if misused as it is in the milk, marshmallow, and cinnamon challenges, food can be dangerous too.
- Cinnamon Challenge: Doctors Issue Warning Against Dangerous Trend from Huffington Post Parents by TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/22/cinnamon-challenge-warning_n_3131899.html>
Article by Nicole Marie Barcega
Feature Image Source: Global News