[trib_ndn vid=24750635](LOS ANGELES TIMES) — It seems harmless enough, swallowing a little spoonful of a lovely spice like cinnamon, but the so-called cinnamon challenge, as millions of YouTube viewers know, is not a pleasant gustatory experience.
In clip after clip on the Internet, someone — often a teenager — ingests a tablespoon of the stuff, without drinking fluids, within 60 seconds. A burning sensation triggers the gag reflex. Coughing and sputtering ensues. A cloud of brown powder surges toward the camera.
Most people who try it recover quickly. But in a handful of unlucky cases, researchers from the University of Miami wrote for publication Monday in the journal Pediatrics , kids end up in the hospital with coughing, vomiting, nosebleed or chest tightness.
“The health risks of the challenge are relatively low, [but] they are unnecessary and avoidable,” wrote coauthors Dr. Steven E. Lipschultz, Dr. Judy Schaechter and Amelia Grant Alfieri in a perspective article advising pediatricians and parents to talk with teens about the possible harmful effects of taking the dare.