There have been many “challenges” circulating social media over the past few years. The newest challenge, which has been creating a frenzy of controversy, is the “paracetamol challenge”.
On the one hand you have police and schools warning parents of this new social media dare and it’s potentially damaging effects. On the other hand you have social media blowing up, saying that this challenge is fabricated.
The challenge is allegedly shared on social media and has resulted in one confirmed hospitalization of a schoolboy in Scotland. There seems to be little proof that this challenge has been spread aside from a few isolated cases. Following this incident, local police sent out this tweet:
“We’ve heard about the #paracetamolchallenge. DONT get involved in this. It causes liver & kidney failure … and death”
So what is the challenge? It is a challenge essentially encouraging young people to consume an excessive amount of paracetamol.
Paracetamol is one of the most commonly used painkillers in the world and while it is completely safe to take at the recommended dose, an overdose can result in liver and kidney failure.
There is little harm done in opening up a dialogue about abusing seemingly harmless drugs. Mandy Yousaf spoke up about her nineteen year old daughter, Charlotte, who died after overdosing on paracetamol in 2011. She urged others not to make the same mistake.
People may be up in arms about the precautionary warnings about this challenge, but there have been a slew of other challenges that have been damaging and even fatal to some individuals. A few of them are:
- Last year’s Neknominate challenge which had five reported fatalities directly linked to it. It involved individuals chugging an alcoholic drink as fast as possible and was often accompanied by a reckless activity.
- The Kylie Jenner Lip challenge, from this year, which was essentially young people giving themselves a hickey with a shot glass over their lips. Many people experienced severe bruising and serious trauma to their mouths.
- The salt and ice challenge that left people with permanent scarring.
- The milk challenge that resulted in excessive vomiting.
- The cinnamon challenge that caused hundreds of people to be hospitalized with lung damage.
Considering the massive amount of foolishness spread on the internet, there should be no objection to calling out the paracetamol challenge on the off chance that it does become viral. Knowledge is power, and in this case could save a life.
The lesson to take from this is to communicate with your children. Be knowledgeable about what they’re doing and give them the information they need to understand the potential long term consequences of participating in these passing “challenges”.