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Doctors Warn Against “Cinnamon Challenge”

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Doctors are warning people not to take the so-called "cinnamon challenge,” a trend that has gone viral online and shows young people gagging while trying to swallow a whole teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

In a new report published Monday in the online journal Pediatrics, doctors say the stunt is so dangerous it can cause choking or even collapsed lungs.

“Cinnamon inhalation can cause pulmonary inflammation, predisposing airways to epithelial lesions and scarring,” doctors warn. “Aspirated powder entering the upper airways can cause inflammation and, in more severe cases, aspiration pneumonia. Thus, the Cinnamon Challenge may pose greater and unnecessary health risks for persons allergic to cinnamon or with bronchopulmonary diseases, including asthma."

“In humans, the fibers and other components of cinnamon can also cause allergic and irritant reactions, including acute symptoms and temporary, if not permanent, lung function changes. As an allergen, cinnamon may also trigger a hypersensitivity-induced asthma attack,” doctors said.

At least 30 teens needed medical help last year after taking the challenge.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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