Throwing boiling water into the air where it instantly freezes in the cold weather may be something fun to watch but health experts are warning the public not to do it.
Boiling Water Challenge
A large part of the continental United States dipped below freezing point over the past few weeks because of the polar vortex.
The boiling water challenge became popular amid record low temperatures. People throw hot water into extremely cold air to see what happens. Hospitals, however, said the viral challenge is sending people to the emergency room.
Injuries From Doing The Viral Challenge
At least eight people who took part in the boiling water challenge have been treated at Chicago's Loyola University Medical Center burn center since the deep freeze happened last week. These individuals had injuries in the feet, face, arms, and hands and have varying degrees of burns.
The University of Iowa Burn Treatment Center said one person sought treatment at the facility. Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis also had a couple of people who were hospitalized as a result of the challenge gone wrong in recent weeks.
"Some of them being parents or adults (who) go outside with their kids to do it, and the kids kind of get excited and step in the way, and the parents end up throwing the water on the children," said Angie Whitley, clinical care supervisor at the Hennepin Healthcare burn center.
Whitley said they also saw face scald injuries in people who threw boiling water in the air but the wind blew back the hot water on them.
Loyola University Medical Center spokesperson Chris Vicik said it isn't just the people who throw water who are getting hurt. Some of those who suffered from burn injuries were just watching the stunt.
Warning Against Boiling Water Challenge
Chicago's Cook County Health chairman of emergency medicine Jeff Schaider advised the public not to try the boiling water challenge.
"It's tempting to try," Schaider said. "It looks like it's pretty cool, but it's probably a bad idea."