There’s a new craze sweeping the internet that teenagers and thrill-seekers worldwide are talking about. However, this phenomenon seems to have caught the media’s attention for all the wrong reasons.
It’s not a new gadget or a new hairstyle – it’s something far simpler than that. In fact, to take part in this new craze all you need are two things. What’s more, both can be found in nearly every household.
Indeed, this is why it has become so popular – because anyone can do it if they want to. So, what is it exactly? Well, the clue is in the name: “The Salt and Ice Challenge.”
That’s right – all that is needed for this crazy new challenge is a pinch of salt and an ice cube. So, what have people been doing with the salt and ice that has caused doctors to become so concerned?
To start with, people have been putting salt directly onto their skin. This in itself doesn’t cause any damage, of course. It’s when the ice is added to the salt on the skin that something dramatic happens.
When you put ice onto salt, it creates a something called an “eutectic frigorific mixture.” This, in simple terms, means that it becomes crazily cold – sometimes as cold as 0° F.
So, what effect does this have on your skin? Well, it starts feeling very strange very quickly. People report sensations of numbness and pain. However, the point of the challenge is to keep holding the ice down on the skin for as long as possible.
The longer the super-cold ice is pressed onto the skin, the more damage will occur and the “tougher” the person will look. However, the ice is so cold that it’s almost the same as placing dry ice directly onto your body.
Some people have been performing the challenge so frequently that the ice has left them with skin discoloration. What’s more, others have gone even further than that and given themselves third-degree burns.
“It’s essentially like frostbite,” Dr. Brian Wagers, a pediatric physician at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis, told Fox News. He is one of many doctors worldwide who are gravely concerned about this craze – and with good reason.
Dr. Wagers acknowledged that this craze has actually been around for a while, but keeps coming back into fashion. He described the effect of the cold ice as making skin “turn into leather,” as blood vessels are destroyed by the extreme temperature.
Nerve endings are also ruined in the affected area and people are often left with bald patches where the ice was applied to the skin. As a result, it’s not surprising that medical professionals are worried about this potentially dangerous challenge.
As with any internet craze, people are constantly uploading videos to social media of themselves doing it. Of course, this only encourages others to follow suit, with viewers wanting to out-do each other.
One such example is a YouTube video by TMNTyler. He was filmed undertaking the challenge, leaving himself with marks on his arms. However, his video has received more than seven million views.
While TMNTyler is based in the U.S., the craze has also crossed the Atlantic to the U.K. In fact, one kid from Wales ended up in the burns unit at his local hospital after trying the challenge. His mom was not impressed.
She consequently uploaded a photograph of her son’s damaged hand as a warning to others. Indeed, doctors even thought about performing a skin graft operation on the boy because the damage was so severe.
Thankfully, a graft proved unnecessary in the end. However, according to the boy’s mom, the doctor said that never before had he seen such serious injuries caused by ice cube. Indeed, it seems her son was lucky this time.
What’s more, it certainly isn’t just boys who are into the craze. Girls, too, seem keen to participate in the challenge. In fact, one girl from the U.K. made it into the national newspapers after she was left with “permanent scars” on her arms.
Her mom also shared a photograph of the damage in order to raise awareness about the dangers of this internet sensation. It defies the logic of many parents that their kids would deliberately injure themselves for fun. However, plenty of children still continue to do so.
As with any craze, this one will surely die down eventually. Nevertheless, it’s still a major worry to parents and medics alike. Hopefully a new challenge that doesn’t involve so much permanent skin damage will come to the fore soon.