Challenges on the internet are nothing new. We've seen everything from the Tide pod challenge to the Bird Box challenge, the Baby Shark challenge and the Shell On challenge. Some are harmless while others can cause some serious danger. The vacuum challenge looks innocent enough, but experts are warning that there's nothing funny about kids and adults who are partaking in this most recent internet challenge.
The vacuum challenge is when a person sits in a large, plastic garbage bag as a vacuum hose is used to suck all the air out, basically vacuum sealing the person inside the bag. People are posting themselves participating in the challenge on social media and it seems like a fun challenge that's also harmless enough. The challenge has even gone global with people from all around the world posting their videos online.
While most, but unfortunately not all, people in the videos posted online are thankfully not placing the bags over their heads, Dr. Daliah Wachs tells ABC Action News that this challenge could be deadly if someone did over their face and head, either inadvertently or on purpose. "It just takes someone not thinking and putting the bag over the head and you could asphyxiate," she explained. She also went on to explain that it's hard to predict the reaction one will have when they realize they can no longer move their body. "What you need to understand is panic," she added. "If somebody feels like their face is covered and they start panicking and sometimes they stop breathing." Other experts are warning of the dangers of potential falls when people participating may tip over but are unable to brace their fall with their arms and hands.
Experts are also warning about the dangers of cerebral hypoxia for those participating in this challenge, Yahoo! News reports. Cerebral Hypoxia is described by The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke as a condition in which there is a decrease of oxygen supply to the brain even though there is adequate blood flow. In serious cases of cerebral hypoxia, it can cause comas, seizures and even brain death, while in mild cases the results can include inattentiveness, poor judgment, memory loss, and a decrease in motor coordination. “Brain cells are extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation and can begin to die within five minutes after oxygen supply has been cut off,” the site states.
Dr. Wachs' thinks it's best to avoid this challenge completely and for parents to speak to their children about it as well. "What really frustrates me, not only as a doctor but as a mother, these challenges aren't going away," said Wachs.