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Cinnamon challenge: Avoid this dangerous trend, say doctors

The cinnamon challenge, swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without water, is both dangerous and increasingly popular. Doctors and others are urging teens not to take the cinnamon challenge.

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Dejah Reed, an Ypsilanti, Mich., teen was hospitalized for a collapsed lung after trying the cinnamon challenge. A new report advises against taking the challenge that involves daring someone to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without water.

Courtesy of Frederick Reed / AP

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Don't take the cinnamon challenge. That's the advice from doctors in a new report about a dangerous prank depicted in popular YouTube videos but which has led to hospitalizations and a surge in calls to U.S. poison centers.

The fad involves daring someone to swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon in 60 seconds without water. But the spice is caustic, and trying to gulp it down can cause choking and related problems, the report said.

At least 30 teens nationwide needed medical attention after taking the challenge last year, said the report, published online Monday in Pediatrics.

 

The number of poison control center calls about teens doing the prank "has increased dramatically," from 51 in 2011 to 222 last year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Thousands of YouTube videos depict kids attempting the challenge, resulting in an "orange burst of dragon breath" spewing out of their mouths and sometimes hysterical laughter from friends watching the stunt, said report co-author Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz, a pediatrics professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

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