Cooking with liquid nitrogen in Los Angeles in 2010. (Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Dragon’s Breath liquid nitrogen snacks may be too hot to handle

A St. Augustine mother is warning people to beware of Dragon’s Breath.

The liquid-nitrogen-coated cereal snack — that allows those who consume it to exhale white smoke through their mouth and nose like a dragon — can sometimes have dangerous side effects, according to Racheal Richard McKenny.

She took to Facebook to tell the story of how her son, Johnny, tried the treat at a kiosk inside The Avenues Mall in Jacksonville, Fla. He has mild asthma, she said, but on the 40-minute drive home he started coughing uncontrollably and had trouble breathing.

The family drove to the nearest fire station and paramedics stabilized the boy for the trip to the hospital. He was treated and is doing fine, McKenny said.

Cooking with liquid-nitrogen is not new. It’s sometimes used in beverages and desserts.

But, doctors say it can be dangerous. Liquid-nitrogen can be as cold at 320 degrees below zero and can cause serious burns to skin, cause deadly asphyxiation if inhaled, and it can damage sight if it splashes or gets rubbed into the eyes.

The Dragon’s Breath vendor at the mall told WJAX/WFOX-TV (Action News Jax) that other customers with asthma have had no reaction to the treat but, even so, a health advisory has been posted near the cash register to warn of the potential side effects.

A similar incident was reported at the Pensacola Interstate Fair last year when a 14-year-old girl burned her thumb while picking up a Dragon’s Breath snack with her fingers.

Dragon’s Breath instructions include holding the cup of treats, using a utensil or stick to pick up the treat, blowing on the treat several times, chewing it completely and avoid drinking or touching the residual liquid-nitrogen that might pool in the bottom of the cup.

McKenny said she posted her story online so other families of those with asthma or allergies are aware of the potential dangers.

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