The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expressed concerns about the latest fad, NyQuil Chicken, which has spread across the country. As the name suggests, people use the over-the-counter cough and cold medicine NyQuil to cook chicken. But, where did this trend come from? What are the dangers? And why would anyone participate in this trend? Continue reading to get the answers to these and many other questions regarding this bizarre fad.
What is Nyquil Chicken?
NyQuil is a cold and flu medicine produced by Vicks. Vicks NyQuil Cough, Cold & Flu medicine helps alleviate nighttime problems like headaches, fevers, muscle aches, runny noses, sore throats, and so on. Last year, a viral TikTok challenge swept across the world after a man posted a video of himself marinating chicken breasts in NyQuil cough syrup. Although the video was removed later, the NyQuil Chicken TikTok challenge video went viral.
In the viral NyQuil Chicken TikTok video, a man is seen cooking chicken breast in cold NyQuil syrup, which turns blue like ‘venom’. According to him, they must keep flipping the chicken constantly. However, what everyone was interested in was when he said that the ‘NyQuil-cooked chicken would make you sleepy,’ resulting in the ‘Sleepy Chicken’ TikTok trend.
Dangers of Misusing Nyquil
Although it is an effective method to combat colds and allergies, using NyQuil improperly carries a variety of risks. Even if you don’t eat the chicken, the drug vapors inhaled while cooking may enter your body in large amounts if the medication is boiled. According to the Food and Drug Administration, when you heat up NyQuil without consuming it, the alcohol and other volatile compounds present in it will evaporate, leaving behind a concentrated quantity of potentially lethal NyQuil substances. This will make NyQuil more potent. In addition to altering its properties, boiling a drug can make it much more concentrated and may also damage your lungs. Dangers of participating in this challenge include but are not limited to:
- Lung damage
- Increased urination
- Dilated pupils
- Liver damage
Acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine, key ingredients in many cold medicines, are the three ingredients that can cause a wide range of issues in this challenge. Acetaminophen, a pain reliever, can lead to liver damage if used excessively. Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant that decreases the activity of the brain region responsible for coughing, may cause severe drowsiness and disorientation. When consumed in large quantities, doxylamine, an antihistamine, may cause tachycardia. Overall, these substances, if misused, may lead to severe harm or even death.
Why Are Young People Making NyQuil Chicken?
What motivates someone to misuse NyQuil, especially by cooking it, despite the many dangers?
Well, there are a few factors that contribute to this TikTok trend.
Young people are more likely to take risks because their brains are still developing. The frontal cortex, the center that controls judgment and cognition, doesn’t finish developing until a person is around 25 years old. During this phase of development, they are more likely to take risks and participate in challenges and dares that older people wouldn’t. Given that TikTok’s audience is composed mainly of young adults and adolescents, “chicken challenge” trends like NyQuil chicken are particularly dangerous. According to PEW Research, about two-thirds of young adults use the platform.
It has long been known that drug use is associated with peer pressure, but new research suggests that it may persist into adulthood. A 2020 study assessed whether peer pressure plays a part in drug abuse (or abstaining from it) among adults aged 18 to 29. It was discovered that peer pressure to consume alcohol can cause isolation and a desire to drink. The NyQuil Chicken Challenge is likely to appeal to those who look to others for approval, particularly when peer pressure is involved.
Seems Safe Enough
Those who participate in the NyQuil challenge on TikTok don’t seem to experience any negative consequences, which may give viewers a false sense of security. It is simple to hide undesirable consequences in a photo or video. However, this is not the only thing that is deceptive about these social media competitions; many individuals believe them to be real when they are not. Many people don’t realize that the majority of these competitions are fabricated and that the individuals in them are acting, not eating chicken cooked in NyQuil, although the videos may make it seem otherwise.
How to Prevent the Continuation of This Trend
It’s crucial to communicate with those at risk of taking part in the NyQuil Chicken Challenge to ensure their safety. In particular, parents and other responsible adults should talk to young adults and children about it. However, does mentioning the NyQuil Chicken Challenge risk drawing too much attention to it? The FDA has already received criticism for warning about it. According to data provided by TikTok to BuzzFeed News, there were only five searches for NyQuil Chicken prior to the warning. Since then, there have been thousands.
Although discussing this social media trend may contribute to more views, it is important to be ahead of the curb when it comes to adolescent safety. Adults can serve as role models when they use medications or administer them to children. Model reading the medication label and double-checking the dosage, discuss where you store medications and why this is a safe location to store them. You can also discuss the medication’s purpose.
As children approach high school, parents frequently deliver a sit-down lecture about drugs. It’s crucial to also establish why you want to raise the subject of drugs with them in order to avoid frightening them. Tell your children that you love them first and that you want them to be safe. When children hear this, they are more likely to heed your warnings and respect your personal opinion.
It’s natural to feel worried if your child or friend has already participated in the challenge. You should speak to them and be respectful in order to prevent them from doing so again. In some cases, children are more prone to engage in activities if you upset or humiliate them because they want to rebel. You should speak to your children with love and understanding in order to gain their attention and respect. Ask them why they took part in the challenge, explain the risks, and teach them better ways to assess social media challenges such as seeking advice from an adult.
The NyQuil Chicken Challenge is one aspect of drug misuse; social media is the other. Unhealthy things like the NyQuil Chicken Challenge don’t just appear on TikTok; they’re everywhere. The message you want to send to young people is that not every video on social media is real. Furthermore, you want to make sure they know that this is not what happens in real life. In real life, there are often serious consequences.
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