[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.