Like the “Tide Pod Challenge,” another dangerous trend among teens has emerged on social media: snorting condoms. Known as the “Condom Challenge,” the stunt has teens snorting condoms up their noses and then pulling them through their mouths.
“As graphic as it is, we have to show parents because teens are going online looking for challenges and recreating them,” education specialist Stephen Enriquez told KMPH. Mr. Enriquez visits schools informing parents of possible health hazards to their children, including the Condom Challenge. He stated that those who partake are usually doing it for the ‘likes, views and subscribers’ they may get on social media.
In response to the Condom Challenge, Bruce Y. Lee, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, writes, “Here’s a list of all the things you should be snorting up your nose: Air.” He states that apart from medications like nasal sprays, anything else that goes up your nose can cause an allergic reaction or infection.
The challenge entails the obvious risk of swallowing the condom. In such a scenario it’s possible that the condom may be excreted in the stool but there have been reports of other complications. One recent report in the Journal of Medical Case Reports details a 26-year old female who accidentally swallowed a condom and developed appendicitis. In another case, published in the Journal of Chest and Allied Sciences, a patient presented with persistent cough and fever which showed no improvement for 6 months, even after trials of antibiotics and anti-tuberculosis treatment; a subsequent chest X-ray later revealed her symptoms were due to accidentally inhaling a condom.
“Commonly, aspiration deaths are due to food items, dental appliances and other foreign bodies,” said Michael Gorn, MD, an emergency medicine physician from Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas. “The Condom Challenge is another mechanism for an aspiration death or injury.”