Don’t do the Tide Pod Challenge. Seriously.
That’s the message poison control officials are urging people after a bizarre trend spread like wildfire online.
The challenge involves people popping the small laundry detergent packs in their mouths and posting videos online of themselves chewing and gagging on the oozing product.
Dozens of people have been taken to the hospital after doing the challenge.
Dr. Gaylord Lopez, the director of Georgia's Poison Control Center, confirmed to WSB-TV that the center has handled one case involving a teen.
“This year, we had a call about a 13-year-old. In fact, it was the mother who called us because the kid was getting sick and vomiting,” Lopez said.
While there's only been one confirmed “Tide Pod Challenge” case in Georgia, Lopez said this is a good reminder about the dangers of detergent pods in general.
There are still hundreds of children under the age of 5 getting sick from them.
“When you’ve got a young child picking up a packet, like I have in my hand, thinking it might be candy or food, you could see why kids are attracted to them,” Lopez said.
Lopez also wants parents to be aware of the latest social media craze.
“Parents need to know that if their young teens are getting into them, they can easily have problems ranging from just mild upset of the stomach to this stuff getting into their lungs and causing far more problems,” Lopez said.
The AJC previously reported that if someone swallows a small amount of the concentrated detergent in the pods, it could result in diarrhea and vomiting. It can even creep into the lungs and burn the respiratory tract, making it incredibly difficult to breathe, Dr. Alfred Aleguas Jr., managing director of the Florida Poison Information Center told USA Today.
The D.C.-based not-for-profit National Capital Poison Center also reported that biting into a pod can cause “serious injury or even death.” Rubbing the product into the eyes can make the eyes burn, too.
And, Consumer Reports previously noted, the pods also pose lethal risks for adults with dementia.
YouTube and Facebook announced last week that “Tide Pod Challenge” videos would be removed from their sites.
“Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes and they’re used safely in millions of households every day. They should be only used to clean clothes and kept up, closed and away from children. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance is, even if meant as a joke.”
The company also offered safety instructions for anyone who has been exposed to or has ingested the pods:
“Unintended exposure to or skin contact with laundry products usually causes no serious medical effects.
If exposure to the skin or clothing occurs, remove contaminated clothing and rinse skin well with water.
If a product gets in the eye(s), then rinse immediately with plenty of water for 15 minutes and seek medical advice as needed.
If a product is swallowed, drink a glass of water or milk and contact the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) or doctor immediately. Do not induce vomiting.
Following these laundry safety steps will help keep your home as safe as possible. Know what to do before unintended exposure happens. Read the product safety information provided on the package.”