Internet challenges spread like wildfire, but this isn’t chugging milk or eating a spoonful of cinnamon
The “condom snorting challenge” is precisely what it sounds like:
Teens are posting videos of themselves snorting a condom up one nose and inhaling until it — hopefully — re-emerges into the mouth.
As you would think, doctors and school officials are speaking out against the dangerous party trick. The major health risk the challenge poses, doctors say, is that it’s a choking hazard.
“You are literally putting something down your nose, which connects to your mouth, which connects to your trachea,” says Dr. Lawrence Piche, family physician here in London. “As well as that, the lubricant that covers the rubber can cause irritation and could potentially set off an allergic reaction. I mean, you are risking choking on it for multiple reasons.”
In addition to choking, Dr.Piche says inhalation of a condom can lead to infection — and it could even get stuck in your airways.
“The nasal passageways and sinuses have distinct cells that can be damaged if objects such as condoms are placed in them, possibly leading to a bacterial or fungal infection,” he told XFM News
He says he hasn’t had anyone come in intentionally swallowing condoms as a challenge, but worries these trends on YouTube might soon bring patients into his office.
“Even if you successfully complete the challenge and pull the condom out your mouth, at the end of the day it’s extremely irritating and a good chance it will wreak chaos on your sinuses and nasal passages,” Piche said. “These ought to be reason enough to discourage you from trying this unsafe challenge.”
Unlike unsafe decisions in which the intent is to get high, these social media challenges are considered games that are aimed to get attention online. The idea of stringing a condom through your nose and pulling it from your mouth is surprisingly not new concept. The challenge dates to at least 2007 and gained increased attention in 2013 when a YouTube video circulated online showing a young woman sucking a condom up her nose to Taylor Swift’s “22”.
This is the most recent in a series of hazardous viral trends that have spread online among millennial’s. Earlier in the year, poison control centers in Ontario reported an increase in incidents as the result of the “Tide pod challenge”. It encourages young people to post videos of themselves biting or eating Tide Pods, which contain toxic cleaning chemicals.
Although it’s unclear why the condom-snorting challenge has reemerged, it seems to be related to the recent warnings about these types of games and the amount of social media attention they can receive from it.