It seems people just can’t get enough of viral challenges on TikTok. Within the last couple of months, the internet has seen people chugging food coloring, creating fires from electrical outlets, and tripping friends as a prank. While some challenges are a lighthearted means to garner more views on social media, others put participants’ safety and health at risk. One that falls into the latter category is TikTok’s “salt challenge.” And doctors are warning it’s a serious health hazard.
In the challenge, people pour an excessive amount of salt in their mouths. This isn’t just a few shakes of the salt shaker — people are getting salt containers and guzzling as much of its contents as they can. Young teens and adults alike are taking part in making the salt challenge go viral.
Many users record themselves dumping salt into their mouths only to spit it out immediately. However, there’s still an extremely high level of sodium entering the body.
Dr. Simran Deo told Mirror she “strongly” advises people against participating in this challenge. Deo stated, “Eating too much salt is very bad for your health both immediately and in the long-run.”
For short-term effects, a sudden spike in sodium levels can lead to dehydration, confusion, nausea and vomiting. For higher levels of sodium and extreme cases, people can suffer from seizures or enter a comatose state.
The salt challenge definitely isn’t the first time seasoning or spices have been used for a viral trend. Long before TikTok existed, the cinnamon challenge graced the internet. The objective of the challenge was to eat a spoonful of ground cinnamon in under one minute without any liquids.
While it provided plenty of comedic content across YouTube, Twitter, and Vine — the cinnamon challenge posed serious health risks as it dried out one’s mouth and throat. Coughing, gagging and vomiting resulted from dry mouths, and inhaling cinnamon led to throat irritation, breathing, difficulties and risk of pneumonia. Thankfully, this is a trend of the past, as it’s since been overtaken by the saltine cracker challenge, banana sprite challenge, and now, the salt challenge.
Salt Challenge — TikTok
Storypick: Teens are completing ‘salt challenge’ by pouring salt in their mouth; doctors issue warning