Yes, The FDA Actually Issued a Warning Against Cooking Chicken In NyQuil

·2 min read
Nyquil-Chicken
Nyquil-Chicken

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First, there was the cinnamon challenge, then the tide pod challenge and the Benadryl challenge after that. Now, the latest dangerous social media stunt everyone's talking about is NyQuil chicken (aka "sleepy chicken"). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has even officially chimed in on the trend. Its advice? Don't try it.

The NyQuil chicken trend can be traced back to as early as 2017 on Twitter but has since migrated to TikTok where it has been making the rounds since earlier this year. In the trending videos, people cook chicken breasts doused with full bottles of NyQuil, seemingly as a joke. One video of a TikToker flipping the meat with a hair straightener garnered 4.3 million views. Jimmy Fallon even joked about it on his show in January 2022. His recipe includes: "Wake up face-down in plate four hours later."

Related: Can NyQuil Cause Memory Loss?

It's unclear how many people actually tried making "sleepy chicken" and if they were looking to feel the effects of NyQuil by doing so. However, there have been no reports of hospitalizations or deaths connected to the trend, reports The New York Times. That said, trying it could have serious repercussions.

NyQuil, an over-the-counter sleep aid meant to be used when you're sick, contains acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine, according to the FDA. Boiling the medicine can make it even more concentrated and change its properties, reports the organization. Additionally, overdosing on dextromethorphan, which is found in NyQuil, can cause seizures, severe dizziness, liver problems, and breathing problems, according to Mount Sinai.

Even cooking chicken in NyQuil without consuming it poses risks to your health, warns board-certified medical affairs specialist Suzanne Soliman, Pharm.D. "One of the biggest dangers is once the medication is aerosolized and it fumes, you're inhaling it, and that can cause lung damage and other problems," says Soliman. "So when you inhale them, they enter your bloodstream really quickly. They're not actually going into your liver where your liver usually will detoxify everything."

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TikTok seems to have put in an effort to remove content promoting the trend. If you search for "#sleepychicken" or "#NyQuilchicken" in the app, you'll see a safety pop-up about the dangers of online challenges with information and resources about potentially harmful TikTok trends. However, you can still find videos and tweets about the trend online, where the general consensus is shock that a trend like this gained enough popularity for the FDA to issue a statement about it.

The FDA and Soliman both encourage parents to speak with their kids about the risks of seemingly "silly" social media challenges. Though they may start out as a joke, they can cause grave health consequences.