US FDA warns against viral TikTok challenge where people cook food with cold medicine  

Sounding alarm over a viral TikTok trend with the potential of causing food poisoning or, worse, death, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked people to stop marinating the chicken in a pan with the over-the-counter cold medicine. 

Called the ‘The NyQuil chicken or “Sleepy Chicken” challenge, people fry two chicken breasts using NyQuil—a cold and flu medicine.  

The video went viral in January this year, and according to US Today, as of Tuesday, over 1.3 million videos have been posted on TikTok with the #sleepychicken tag. 

“The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing — and it is. But it could also be very unsafe. Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways,” the FDA said. 

“Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapours while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs,” it added. 

The agency cautioned that the process of cooking with this type of medicine-laced concoction can be dangerous, even if it is done for entertainment purposes. 

“Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it,” the agency said. 

Notably, this is not the first weird or potentially life-threatening TikTok challenge that has become viral in recent years. 

In 2020, a separate TikTok challenge dared people to take large doses of allergy medicine diphenhydramine — one of the brands is Benadryl — to get high and induce hallucinations. 

There was also this challenge that encouraged people to lick surfaces during the pandemic, and the Blackout challenge where people choke themselves until they become unconscious. It had resulted in multiple deaths. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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