Words doctors never thought they'd have to say: Teens, Tide pods aren't for eating

Words doctors never thought they'd have to say: Teens, Tide pods aren't for eating

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - They are meant to clean clothes, but colorful laundry packets called pods are being used in a dangerous social media dare.

Some teenagers are biting into them and recording themselves to post their reactions online.

"It can be very severe and even cause death," said Dr. Howie Klemmer, chief of Emergency Medicine at The Queen's Medical Center.

It's not known which components in the packets will get a child sick if they put it into their mouth.

But Klemmer warns the detergent packets that are packaged as squishy balls are nothing to toy with..

"That kind of thin mucous membrane dissolves on contact with water or saliva. It rapidly will open and release those contents," Klemmer said.

The contents are powerful. The national Poison Help line gets more than 50 calls a year from Hawaii residents for detergent pod poisonings.

"They'll make people sleepy. It can cause them to be comatose. They could have seizures and also throw up," said Alvin Bronstein, state EMS Injury Prevention Branch chief.

He said half of Hawaii's poisoning cases involving detergent packets end up in the hospital. Almost all are young children who mistake them for candy.

Now, the "Tide Pod dare" has created a new concern.

"This is whole new craze that is very troubling," Bronstein said.

So far, Hawaii's emergency rooms have not treated teens suffering from pod poisoning.

"Hopefully, people use better judgment and don't follow that silliness," Klemmer said.

Physicians fear young people will try the detergent challenge thinking it's cool when it could be deadly..

Bronstein urges any parent or person who needs help to call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

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