A 12-year-old Pittsburgh boy sustained serious second-degree cold injuries to his back after partaking in the dangerous Internet fad known as the “salt and ice challenge,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The challenge — also known as the “salt and ice pain game” or just “salt and ice” — is making the rounds on YouTube and social networking sites among middle and high schoolers. To play, participants press salt and ice cubes to their skin to see how long they can withstand the burning pain. The resulting injury can be similar to frostbite.
According to the Post-Gazette, the unidentified boy had salt poured on his back in the shape of a cross during a sleepover. He was taken to the West Penn Hospital Burn Center and will need several months to fully recover from his injuries, WPXI-TV reported. (Photo below — graphic content warning.)
“The injury is similar to frostbite that can result in mild cold injury but it also could increase in severity based on the time the ice is applied,” Burn Center Director Dr. Ariel Aballay told the Post-Gazette. “The longer, the more serious the injury. This patient went for a few minutes, but there have been cases that went for six or seven minutes that resulted in third-degree injuries.”
The boy’s mother told the newspaper her son actually withstood the challenge for 20 minutes, eventually losing any sense of pain or feeling. She said her twin sons and a friend did it around 3 a.m. June 22, and that by the next afternoon the boy’s skin had blistered, prompting her to take him to the emergency room.
“We want teenagers and the general public to know that the ‘salt and ice challenge’ is extremely dangerous,” the victim’s family said in a statement, according to WPXI. “Videos on You Tube, Facebook and other social media do not accurately show the terrible injuries that can result. We are grateful that our son is recovering and hope that sharing his story will stop other young people from attempting this stunt.”
Photo below. (Content warning — graphic.)
(h/t Huffington Post)