Teenagers and other kids always seem to want to be popular with their friends. It’s a relentless pursuit with little rewards. The smallest thing could make someone lose a bit of their “cool factor” and sometimes it is arbitrary who gets to sit at the popular table at lunch.
But some young people are so desperate to be liked, they will injury their bodies and participate in ridiculous internet challenges to impress their peers (and even people they will never meet on the internet).
Now children have revived an old internet game called the “Salt and Ice” challenge. While the title might seem innocuous, the result is a wound that is “like severe frostbite.” It is simple but can cause severe burns that result in scarring. And it can also send youngsters to the emergency room in terrible pain…
The challenge is simple. Participants pour a layer of salt on their skin. Then they place ice cubes on top of the salt. The result is a burn similar to frostbite and potentially even more dangerous. This causes a chemical reaction that can lower the temperature of the ice to as low as 1.4°F.
One boy from Swansea, UK was burned so badly after playing along with his friends and doing the challenge, his doctor considered giving him a skin graft. Now his mother is warning other parents about the dangers of the “salt and ice” challenge.
The boy’s mother took a photo of her young child’s injuries and posted them online to show the internet how dangerous this “game” can be.
“It is so deep that it has burnt all the nerve endings,” she wrote. “He has some feeling in the red part around the edge but nothing on the burn itself. It is like severe frostbite. It could have gone septic and caused organ failure. He is looking a bit sheepish now.”
The boy was lucky. He still had full movement of his hand although he had frozen parts of his flesh to death. The doctors gave him a skin graft and he will hopefully recover with minimal scarring. But mom is still terrified and worried that other parents will have to endure the same problem with their kids.
“At first I thought it was a cut so I took him to the minor injuries unit and it was treated as such,” she said. “Then when I realised what had happened and it was a burn he was taken to the burns unit. The consultant said he had never seen an ice cube do this much damage.”
Another mother experienced a similar problem. Her daughter did the challenge and now has permanent scars.