YouTube Trend: Cinnamon Challenge poses danger to kids

Poison Control Center issues warning

By Lisa Bell - Anchor, Allison McGinley - News Director

ORLANDO, Fla. - Millions go to YouTube in search of entertainment and a few laughs, but the latest YouTube trend is no joke.
It's called the Cinnamon Challenge where children and teens try to eat spoonfuls of cinnamon without drinking any water.
Local 6 uncovered dozens of videos showing kids and teens trying the dangerous stunt. In one, a 6-year-old was being spoon fed by his big brother who cheers him on saying, "just swallow, swallow ... come on you can do it, you can do it."
In another a 9-year-old is egged on by his own parents.
But swallowing a spoonful of cinnamon can be downright deadly.

The game has become so dangerous the American Association of Poison Control Centers has issued a warning.
The group says the number of calls concerning teenagers and cinnamon exposure has skyrocketed. In 2011, there were 51 calls. But in just the first three months of 2012, 139 calls were made. That's nearly a 300 percent increase.
"Cinnamon in and of itself is not dangerous in reasonable quantities of course, but what we're worried about is how it's going to affect the airways," said Dr. Timothy Hendrix at Centra Care.
Hendrix is not surprised that the latest YouTube trend is pushing patients to the emergency room.
"This is simply a dare to see if you can do it. There is no benefit, there is no high, there is no anything that the child is going to experience other than pain," said Hendrix.
Pain caused by burning from the spice itself.
Also, Hendrix says when the fine powder is absorbed into the lungs it can cause coughing, gagging, even vomiting.
"And possibly death if they get spasms and their airways block off," said Hendrix.

In the past year, poison centers statewide have received 16 calls for cinnamon exposure including one from Seminole County and two calls from Orange County.

One of the calls in Orange County was about an 8-year-old child.
Hendrix says now is the time to talk to your children.

"They know about this they're talking to their friends they're seeing it on the Internet," Hendrix said. "Even though it's an innocuous simple spice that's available in the store, that anything used inappropriately could be dangerous."

If parents catch a child taking on the Cinnamon Challenge, Hendrix says a glass of water should relieve most of the burning, but if they are having difficulty breathing call 911 immediately.

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