The recent craze that was the ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ was one of those things that is easy to laugh at and move on from, right up until you see how widespread its reach was. I first came across the ridiculous trend in early January, but by then it was in full swing, with enough of the detergent-chewing videos around to give us lengthy YouTube compilations of the ‘best ones’.
The challenge started off as a meme, with Twitter users joking about the fact that the laundry products look delicious, despite being clearly not. However, someone somewhere had the terrible idea that this would be even funnier if you were to film yourself actually biting into the soapy package. Surprisingly, the joke didn’t wear thin, with thousands of teenagers biting into Tide Pods to join in on the craze.
In the last month, the American Association of Poison Control Centres (AAPCC) have reported a huge rise in calls they’ve received regarding tide pod poisoning, and the topic has been the focus of many news stories.
Now the story of a boy who ate three laundry detergent pods is making the rounds, with a video explaining how much harm he did to himself by taking part in the bewildering internet sensation. The clip tells the story of how a boy, referred to as ‘JR’, ended up in the hospital in January with respiratory distress, somnolence and emesis following his attempt at the challenge, going to details on how this affected his insides.
His mother told A&E staff that he had been gagging, vomiting and struggling to breathe for over half an hour. As with most taking part in the challenge, he had no intention of swallowing the detergent but was overcome by a burning sensation and numbness on his tongue immediately after biting into it. He began to cough, which only allowed some of the detergent to make its way down his throat, where it began burning, leaving him foaming at the mouth.
His mother called the poison centre, then called an ambulance to their home. At the hospital, he was found to have a corroded oesophagus, which is just as bad as it sounds, as well as damaging his stomach. His situation was critical when the oxygen levels in his blood dropped as he struggled to breathe, his heart-rate doubling. He eventually lost consciousness but was saved by the quick intervention of medical staff.
Now that the 17-year-old has come out of the situation alive and well, I’m sure his mom will be pretty angry with his behaviour. I did plenty of dumb things during my teens, but I don’t think I ever got as far as ingesting cleaning products.