Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and now TikTok have been changing the way that people connect, and information is communicated since their introduction. With all this innovation, however, comes a new risk. Fads used to be fairly local, and only the most pernicious managed to make their way onto the national or even global scene. Now fads can spread at the speed of social media and with them the so-called “challenges” that inspire people to do risky and sometimes outright dangerous things. The latest in the list of challenges that are spreading is the “Benadryl Challenges,” and it could be putting your children at risk.
What Are Challenges?
Challenges are some form of activity that viewers are encouraged to take part in, and in so doing, encourage others to try. Some are relatively harmless or even inspiring, such as food challenges, or makeup challenges, or even exercise challenges. Less benign are challenges that encourage people to do dangerous things, such as the “Tide Pod” challenge. This challenge dared viewers to bite open or even eat Tide detergent pods. Needless to say, the consequences of these types of challenges can be tragic, and parents should keep informed of them so they can talk to their kids about the dangers.
What Is The Benadryl Challenge?
This challenge, as the name suggests, is centered on the allergy medication known as Benadryl, or diphenhydramine. In addition to its intended use for the treatment of allergies, bug bites, rashes, and hives, it has other traits that only occur in high doses. These include altered mental states and hallucinations when taken in sufficient amounts, but these side-effects come with the risk of life-threatening symptoms. Given that the challenge encourages participants to take as many as twelve pills. This is double the maximum daily dosage for those under 12, and equal to that dosage for adults.
What Are The Risks?
The risks of this challenge come in the form of the side effects that come with overdosing. While altered mental states and hallucinations are the desired outcomes, they cannot be reached without putting oneself at risk of the other doses. These include increased heart rate, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, urinary retention, blurred vision, and high body temperature. The most serious potential repercussion is death from seizure, cardiac arrest, arrhythmia, or stroke. A desire to participate in the latest fad “challenge” could result in tragic consequences for the participant and their family.
What Can I Do?
The best step you as a parent can take is communicating with your children about the risks of this challenge. In the modern environment, there’s no meaningful way to keep your children from hearing about these types of challenges or consuming media that encourage them. While you can limit their exposure at home, internet access is available at schools, libraries, and of course, you can count on their friends sharing their newest favorite internet sensation. This means its essential that you stay abreast of these kinds of changes and establish an open-door policy for talking about them. Be sure to explain the potential repercussions of taking part in the challenge, and trust them to use that information effectively.
Looking for more information about this and other risks that face your children in today’s deeply connected world? Reach out to Dr. Amrendra Kumar or Kasey Hudson at MD First Primary & Urgent Care in Lancaster, SC. They can provide information on these and other social trends that may put your children at risk.