Here we go again. Another day, another stunt brought to you by bored Americans. Apparently, people are sick of Tide Pods, ghost peppers, and food wrappers, so they’ve created a new “challenge” with vacuum cleaners.
This is how the vacuum challenge works: One person lacking in judgement sits inside a big plastic garbage bag. A second person lacking in judgement sticks a vacuum hose inside the bag and sucks all the air out until the person sitting in the bag is sealed inside. The person trapped inside the bag often can’t move and topples over.
People all over the world are doing this and posting videos online.
All. Over. The world.
The good thing is, unlike the Tide Pod challenge, the vacuum challenge is relatively safe, as long as the participant doesn’t put the garbage bag over their head. Unfortunately (and predictably), lots of people put the bag over their head.
“It just takes someone not thinking and putting the bag over the head and you could asphyxiate,” Dr. Daliah Wachs told ABC Action News. “[And] if somebody feels like their face is covered, [they could] start panicking and stop breathing.”
Yahoo! News reports experts are also concerned about vacuum challenge participants getting cerebral hypoxia. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) describes cerebral hypoxia as a condition in which there’s a decrease of oxygen supply to the brain even though there’s adequate blood flow.
The NINDS website states that “brain cells are extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation and can begin to die within five minutes after oxygen supply has been cut off.”
Have I mentioned people are doing this with their little kids?
The videos typically involve two participants, where one person sits in the bag and another person sucks the air out with the hose. But it’s possible for one person to do it, and this could lead to a pretty dicey situation.
According to news site Latestly, “a leading Information portal for the Millenials of today,” one particular teenager tried doing the challenge himself and was trapped inside the bag for two hours until his parents found him and pulled him out.
If it’s a slow day at work and you’re interested in watching some vacuum challenge videos, just Google #vacuumchallenge. Sadly, you’ll get thousands of results.