Jul 26, 2014
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The 'Cinnamon Challenge:' Should Parents Worry?

Adults and some kids are challenging each other to ingest spoonfuls of the stuff, but is this a risky activity or just a good laugh?

The 'Cinnamon Challenge:' Should Parents Worry?

The cinnamon challenge is simple: eat a spoonful of dry, ground cinnamon without drinking any water or throwing up.  

The cinnamon challenge is relatively new cousin of the " Saltine challenge," an eating competition that has been around for decades, but at least one Boston-area doctor is worried.  

In a Boston Globe article on the subject, MGH pulmonologist James Mojica said, “The biggest problem is that the powder dries your mouth and throat, which makes it easier for it to enter your lungs instead of your stomach." 

He also explained to the Globe that "That, in turn, can inflame the lungs, and lead to breathing difficulties, an acute lung injury, an aspiration pneumonia, or lung scarring," and that "Young patients can generate such high pressure when they cough that their lungs can collapse."

However, an East Bridgewater nurse, Korin Ziegler, whose 13-year-old daughter made it through the cinnamon challenge unharmed, told the Globe she isn't too worried about the effects of excess cinnamon.  “There are a lot more formidable things to worry about at this age,’’ she said.  

Currently no cinnamon challenge deaths have yet been reported, and, despite nationwide popularity, there has only been one reported hospitalization; that of a teenager in Ann Arbor who, per the Globe, "was hospitalized for four days with lung problems" after attempting the challenge.  

Is this all the warning parents and schools should need to speak out against the cinnamon challenge, or is the whole issue much ado about nothing?  Vote and leave a comment with your take on the situation.  

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