Don’t cook your chicken in NyQuil, despite what you’ve seen on TikTok, FDA warns

·2 min read
Screengrabs from @theunicornking and @papasqueefaria TikTok stitches

A dangerous trend is circulating on TikTok, prompting federal officials to warn users of the risks.

Videos of people boiling raw chicken in NyQuil — an over-the-counter medication that treats flu, common cold and allergy symptoms — have seeped through TikTok, garnering thousands of views until the platform had to remove users’ ability to search “chicken NyQuil” on the app.

“The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing — and it is,” the Federal Drug Administration said in a release about social media safety. “But it could also be very unsafe.”

McClatchy News reached out to TikTok for comment on the challenge, which has been circulating since the beginning of the year, and is awaiting a response.

Trace videos left behind of the challenge on TikTok show people flipping chicken cutlets with NyQuil steaming off the pan. Part of the reason the challenge is so dangerous is because of how the drug’s properties change after being boiled or cooked, the FDA said.

“Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body,” the FDA said. “It could also hurt your lungs. Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it.”

“You’re going to cook yourself a recipe to the hospital,” one person commented on a video of the trend. Others have poked fun at the idea of even trying such a recipe.

Since medicine like NyQuil, which contains acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine, are available over the counter, it’s easy for young people to get a hold of the ingredients to try similar dangerous challenges, the FDA said.

“Social media trends and peer pressure can be a dangerous combination to your children and their friends, especially when involving misusing medicines,” the FDA said.

The FDA urges parents to talk with their children about the dangers of abusing over-the-counter drugs like NyQuil and other medication to avoid overdose.

If your child ingests too much medication, call 911 to get immediate medical attention or contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222 or online, the FDA said.

TikTok urges viewers to follow these steps before participating in a challenge seen on the platform:

  • “STOP: Pause a moment.”

  • “THINK: Is it safe? Is it harmful? Is it real? If you’re unsure, check with an adult or friends, or look for more information from authoritative sources online.”

  • “DECIDE: If it’s risky or harmful, or you’re not sure if it is, don’t do it. It’s not worth putting yourself or others at risk.”

  • “ACT: Report harmful challenges or hoaxes in-app. Don’t share them.”

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