Doctors warn parents about dangerous 'Tide Pod Challenge'

A bizarre new trend dubbed the "Tide Pod Challenge" is gaining popularity among teens on social media — and doctors say it could land them in the emergency room.

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The challenge involves people popping the small laundry detergent packs and posting videos of themselves chewing and gagging on the oozing product online.

Videos with the title "Tide Pod Challenge" have been shared to YouTube. In some videos, teens are putting the pods in frying pans and cooking them before consuming them.

Memes have erupted all over social media.

Someone even came up with an edible Tide pod recipe.

Tide Pods are meant to be used for laundry as an alternative to powder or liquid detergent.

The silly concept of consuming the product first garnered attention in 2015 when the satirical newspaper The Onion published a column about a child who wanted to eat the red and blue detergent pod, which has a candy-like appearance.

Two years later, College Humor shared a video of a man eating an entire bowl of laundry pods and then being carted off into an ambulance. "I don't regret it," he said.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were more than 10,500 reported exposures to highly concentrated laundry detergent by children age 5 and younger in 2017.

If someone swallows a small amount of the concentrated detergent in the pods, it could result in diarrhea and vomiting. And it can even creep into the lungs and burn the respiratory tract, making it incredibly difficult to breathe, Dr. Alfred Aleguas Jr., managing director of the Florida Poison Information Center told USA Today.

The D.C.-based not-for-profit National Capital Poison Center reported that biting into a pod can cause "serious injury or even death." Rubbing the product into the eyes can make the eyes burn, too.

If a product gets in the eye, rinse immediately with plenty of water for 15 minutes and seek medical advice as needed.

If a product is swallowed, drink a glass of water or milk and contact the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) or doctor immediately. Do not induce vomiting.

Following these laundry safety steps will help keep your home as safe as possible. Know what to do before unintended exposure happens. Read the product safety information provided on the package.”

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