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Steer clear of fad

by Kimberley Cummins

Barbadian children are engaging in a new fad that is potentially quite harmful.

It is called the salt and ice challenge and one boy learnt the hard way how dangerous it can be. Last Sunday on a visit to his mother’s home, the nine year old said after watching the how-to viral video on YouTube, he decided to experiment with it. Unknown to his mother, he said he got salt, placed it on two spots on his arm, then for about 10-15 seconds placed an ice cube on each spot. After it started to burn he went to the tap and ran water over his arm.

“When I saw the video it showed me what to do, and I like science so it seemed like an exciting experiment,” he explained to Barbados TODAY from his St. Thomas home.

“I washed my hand and then it turned bluish, black. Then the next day bumps came up and after a little while it started to get darker and it was like a burn. I was playing outside with my brother then he mistake and tore some of the skin off, and the next day they were more bumps and then the other part of my hand started to get more and more bumps.

“I started squeezing the bumps and juice came out, the juice was sticky and yellowish stuff came out of my hand. When I first did it it hurt, now it don’t hurt at all. I really don’t know why I did it, I just felt like doing something.

“I wouldn’t do that again though, because my brother show me all it could have done to my hand, he said it could kill you, make you go to the doctor to have your hand removed,” he said as his visibly upset great-grand mother looked on.

Fourteen year-old Joshua said he never tried the challenge, but learnt about it at school in last February. The teenager, who attends one of the older secondary schools on the island, said that once one person started to do it, and even though that person warned that it “burns like mad” other students, both boys and girls, were apparently still compelled to experience it for themselves.

He said he knew six students in his year group who tried it and afterward attended school with some of the most horrible blisters.

“It started to swell up and caused them to stop writing and they had to try writing with the other hand. It is almost like marijuana or drinking coke and adding ‘mentos’ — it is like the cinnamon challenge or drinking hand sanitiser. It is a competition,” he said.

When Barbados TODAY contacted several dermatologists about the fad they said they had never heard of the challenge before. Dr. Andrew L Forde, of Skin Deep in Pine Medical Centre, who was not aware of any cases in Barbados, said it is a very silly and dangerous thing to do, something which should definitely not be encouraged as it could have life long consequences.

Forde said this, as one parent called it, “folly” could cause a type of a chemical burn on the skin which could vary in severity from first to third degree burns. If the burn goes pass the upper layer of the skin and deeper, one could get a scare and the skin could contract. He said if there was a contracture it could affect the person’s range of motion.

“For example if you get it in the hand or joint you won’t be able to move the joint like normal and also you can get an infection if the skin is broken,” he said.

The dermatologist further said that while it may of low probability, depending on the area where the burn occurred, it could lead to amputation.

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