Icon WebMD Expert Blogs

This blog has been retired.


The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... Expand

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Don’t Take the Cinnamon Challenge

By Roy Benaroch, MD


I suppose there’s always something new and stupid for people to do. You can thank Youtube for the latest craze—“The Cinnamon Challenge.” Can you eat a tablespoon of cinnamon in 60 seconds, without drinking any water?

I’m not going to post any links, but Youtube is filled with videos of people trying, and coughing, and vomiting. Fun for the whole family? Maybe not.

Cinnamon is quite irritating, and the tiny powder absorbs fluid quickly. It also seems to clog up the glands that produce saliva in the mouth. People who try to eat cinnamon this way end up with dry, caustic powder in the throats and down their esophagus. Without water or saliva to wash it down, the powder clumps and sticks. Coughing and gagging are inevitable. Worse, it’s very possible to suck the powder down into the lungs themselves, causing trouble breathing and maybe even respiratory failure.

The Cinnamon Challenge can be especially dangerous for people with lung disease, like asthma. It’s also an especially bad idea if the reflexes that protect your lungs are blunted, which happens when alcohol or other drugs are taken.

Facebook, Youtube, and other internet fun sites have made it quick and easy for fads to spread. Some are probably silly and harmless—though even planking has led to some deaths. Other trends, like The Choking Game, are very dangerous. While The Cinnamon Challenge hasn’t killed anyone—yet—it’s a dumb thing to try.

Photo: iStockphoto

Posted by: Roy Benaroch, MD, FAAP at 11:50 am

Subscribe & Stay Informed

Parenting and Children's Health

Get the Parenting & Children's Health newsletter and get useful parenting tips and health news you need to keep your little ones happy & healthy.


WebMD Health News