YouTube challenge web trends are all the rage these days but just because something is popular, that does not mean everyone should do it. Sure, the Ice Bucket Challenge was a fun and silly way to raise both money and awareness for ALS but it was not inherently dangerous. But the Tide Pods challenge—in which people (usually teenagers) put actual Tide-brand laundry detergent pods in their mouths—often resulted in people swallowing the highly concentrated soap. And this, in turn, resulted in hospitalization.
Well, now there is another web trend that is just as ridiculous but has, in fact, left an Indianapolis teen with severe burns that will take a long time to heal.
This is the “Hot Water Challenge” (and, yes, you can apparently look it up on YouTube, which is what helped convince these teens to give it a shot). Apparently, in this challenge, you drink boiling water or pour boiling water onto someone else.
It has already killed a child in Florida, but 15-year-old Kyland Clark said his friend poured boiling water on him after he fell asleep, and he woke up with his skin falling off his face.
“Second-degree burns are often painful and cause blisters,” explains Reed Caldwell, MD. The NYU Langone Health Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine assistant professor goes on to say, “Third-degree burns are when the skin is either very pale and thick-looking, or actually has muscle, fat, or bone showing.”
Obviously, the best way to prevent second (and third) degree burns is to simply not participate in these challenges. You could also go so far as to make boiling water inaccessible in your home. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can set your home’s hot water heater thermostat to less than 120 degrees F.
While Kyland is expected to heal from his injuries, another person who is burned by boiling hot water may not be so fortunate. First-degree burns only affect the top layer of skin (like a sunburn). They are slightly painful but that can be alleviated with aloe/salves/lotions and Tylenol. Second-degree burns affect the first and second layer of your skin; third-degree burns reach the fat layer beneath your skin and can result in nerve damage. While you might not realize you have a first-degree burn at first, you will know if the burn has reached second-degree: and you should seek medical help immediately.