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Emergency Physicians Warn Against “Tide Challenge”

WASHINGTON, D.C.—As part of a bizarre social media trend, teens taking the “Tidepod Challenge” are posting videos in which they put water soluble Tide detergent pods in their mouths, putting themselves at high risk for serious health consequences or death.

The nation’s emergency physicians strongly advise: do not attempt chewing or swallowing detergent or similar chemical products.

“Parents are told to keep these products out of the reach of young children who might mistake the colorful spongy pods for candy or chewable toys,” said Paul Kivela, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “For older children, teens, or anyone else, to voluntarily poison yourself in search of internet fame is ill-advised and dangerous.”

The internet fad puts teens at risk for rashes, severe internal burns and scarring from detergent chemicals. In some instances, injuries can result in patients that require feeding through a tube in their abdominal wall or breathing through a hole in their throat. Eating detergent products can cause choking, trouble breathing, vomiting, abdominal pain, tearing of the stomach lining, sinus damage, neurological problems, and even death.  

“Please use these products as intended and directed on the label. If you or somebody you know ingests detergent chemicals you should contact a poison control center and take them to the ER immediately,” said Dr. Kivela.

The 24-hour American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) Poison Help line can be reached at 1-800-222-1222 and www.PoisonHelp.org.   

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education, and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million people they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org and www.emergencyphysicians.org

Contact: Steve Arnoff | sarnoff@acep.org | Twitter @EmergencyDocs

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