Teen boy awakens from coma after Cinnamon Challenge goes awry

Cinnamon (Photo: Simon A. Eugster/Wikimedia Commons)Cinnamon (Photo: Simon A. Eugster/Wikimedia Commons)

Thirteen year old Hilversum boy Germain is slowly waking up from the coma he's been in since a Cinnamon Challenge at a birthday party last week went terribly wrong. The boy fell unconscious and hit his head on a tree. Doctors at the Wilhelmina Pediatric Hospital in Utrecht kept him in a coma for 5 days, AD reports.

The Cinnamon Challenge first became popular in 2013 and is now once again raising its head among kids and teenagers. For the challenge you have to swallow a big spoon full of cinnamon without drinking anything. This is very difficult to do given how dry cinnamon powder is and mostly results in coughing and sneezing. Hilarious to your friends, but it can be very dangerous if the powder ends up in your lungs.

Germain's family hopes that his story will serve as a warning to others and wants to show the world how dangerous the Cinnamon Challenge can be. "My daughter in law is right", the boy's grandmother said to AD. "Everyone has cinnamon in the kitchen cupboard, but nobody know damage it can do if you take part in the foolishness. Let Germain set an example for them."

"The goal of the challenge is to swallow the cinnamon down withing sixty seconds without taking a drink. That is virtually impossible because the large amount of powder is too dry to swallow." Bert Arets, pediatric pulmonologist at UMC Utrecht explained to AD. "What happens is that the lining of your mouth is irritated. You will cough and sneeze and therefore may inhale in a shock reaction, through which it enters your respiratory tract or even your lungs."

"That irritates the airways and lung alveolar. The airways swell, become infected and pinches through which a person can get a sever asthmatic reaction. If the cinnamon gets deeper into the longs, the alveolar become inflamed, resulting in the oxygen intake to the blood being disrupted and not enough oxygen entering. That can lead to lack of oxygen, which can even cause a coma and brain damage. This damage and later scarring of the alveolar may be permanent, leaving the patient with long term difficulties."