Two everyday items — salt and ice — become extremely harmful when combined together. You would think that would be enough to keep people from doing such a thing, but there's a dangerous trend that is popular among teens today. Despite the risk, kids and teens continue to take the Salt and Ice Challenge.
In the Salt and Ice Challenge, kids put salt on their skin, then rub ice on top and see how long they can stand the burning sensation it creates. Salt and ice create a chemical reaction, and combining the two results in rapid cooling. The chemical reaction lowers the temperature of ice to 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
The challenge causes damage that is similar to frostbite, and it does so quickly. Burns can be severe, and second and third-degree burns have been reported because of the challenge. Multiple children and teens have been sent to the hospital due to their resulting injuries.
Like many of the challenges today, the Salt and Ice Challenge is rooted in social media. Teens take the challenge, then post their results. Some take to YouTube to post videos of the entire challenge.
5. Video Challenges
Many people have recorded themselves taking the salt and ice challenge, adding to its viral nature. In this video's introduction, the host acknowledged that he was aware that the challenge gave people frostbite and that many people had gone to the hospital as a result. The video highlights how shockingly quickly the challenge can damage your skin. This video has over 7,000,000 views.
The goal of the challenge? It's pretty much to be able to show off to others. Social media and the increasing peer pressure resulting from it contribute to the viral nature of the challenge. The photo to the left was posted to Twitter with the following caption: "I did the salt and ice challenge and burnt off my freckles."
What teens don't seem to understand is the fact that the challenge can cause lasting damage. Serious burns can create nerve damage. The temperature drop of more than 25 degrees can occur within 30 seconds, bringing with it the potential for serious physical harm.
In 2014, a 15-year-old teenager named Zakree Lindsey suffered severe burns after playing the Salt and Ice Challenge. He was taken to the emergency room with frostbite and blisters. He had second and third-degree burns.
According to a spokesperson for St. John Ambulance, a first aid charity in the United Kingdom, it is essential to properly treat a burn resulting from the challenge. "If someone has suffered a burn, make sure they are treated immediately by cooling the affected area as quickly as possible. Run it under cool water for at least ten minutes, or until the pain feels better. Don’t use ice, gels or creams as they can damage tissues and increase risk of infection. Once the burn has cooled, cover it with kitchen film."
It is also important to be able to recognize if a burn may need additional, professional treatment. According to the St. John Ambulance spokesperson, burns on the hands, feet, or face are likely to be more serious. Any burn larger than the person's hand is also serious, and you should seek medical advice.
Parents play an important role in encouraging their teens to avoid the Salt and Ice Challenge. Parents can help to protect their children by encouraging them to turn down the challenge, but to not judge those who participate. Encourage your teens to socialize with others who don't take part in the challenge, and offer suggestions on what the teens can do when asked to participate in the challenge.
The Salt and Ice Challenge isn't the first challenge to have gone viral among teens and kids. The Eraser Challenge resulted in similar physical harm. Challenge participants vigorously rubbed an eraser against their skin, causing burns and wounds and putting participants at risk of infection.
Some challenges aren't as risky as others, though. In fact, they can be downright fun.
People who participated in the Mannequin Challenge filmed themselves in crazy poses, standing as still as a mannequin. The objective was to essentially freeze time, and even celebrities got in on the challenge.
14. The Harlem Shake Challenge
Similar to the Mannequin Challenge, the Harlem Shake Challenge prompted people to just get silly. Groups of people would perform ordinary daily tasks, while other people would break out into a crazy dance to the Bauuer song, "Harlem Shake." Generally the dancers wore wild costumes, and the videos were posted to the internet in an attempt to out-do other videos.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral about two years ago, had a positive cause behind it. Challenge participants dumped buckets of ice water onto their heads to raise money for the ALS Association. The challenge raised $220 million worldwide to help fund ALS research.
Who knows how the Extreme Phone Pinching Challenge came about, but we'll bet that some people had to replace some pretty expensive phones as a result. Participants dangled their phones over dangerous places, like over rivers or from the tops of tall buildings. The caveat: You could only hold your phone with your pointer finger and your thumb.
In the "Why?" category, we also have the 100 Coat Makeup Challenge. Participants layered on 100 coats of makeup, including foundation, mascara, and lipstick. The results were about what you would expect.
While some of these viral challenges are harmless, many of them bring plenty of physical risk. Parents must discuss the physical risks of popular challenges with their children. With increased awareness of the serious damage that some of these challenges can do, hopefully teens will start to avoid them in the future.