Sometimes, the teens are good, like when they're fighting tooth and nail for gun control and getting Laura Ingraham in trouble with her advertisers. Other times, the teens are eating Tide Pods and snorting chocolate. Growing up is a world of contradictions! Now, teens are reportedly enjoying a new, bizarre, and rather dangerous challenge — namely, the "Condom Snorting Challenge". No, I don't get it either. Yes, I'm glad I'm not a teen.
As reported by USA Today, the "Condom Snorting Challenge" involves teens posting videos online showing themselves partaking in a dangerous new trend. Here's how it works: you take a condom, unwrap it, and inhale it until it makes its way through your nasal passage and out your mouth. What. The. Heck????
FOX San Antonio aired videos of the so-called challenge last week in an effort to alert parents as to what their children may or may not be doing. Apparently, at least in San Antonio, schools are incorporating viral trends like the condom snorting challenge in their drug and alcohol preventative programming. "There are all kinds of drugs and kids are clever, so it's just really what are our kids doing? So, that's what we try to share," Stephen Enriquez, a state education specialist, told the FOX. He added, "Because these days our teens are doing everything for likes, views, and subscribers. As graphic as it is, we have to show parents because teens are going online looking for challenges and recreating them."
Not that you necessarily need a primer on why it's a bad idea to try to snort a condom through your nasal passage, but as doctors have pointed out repeatedly, your sinuses are sensitive, and snorting anything not prescribed by a physician can damage them. "[A]nything else that goes up your nose can damage the sensitive inner lining of your nose, cause an allergic reaction, or result in an infection," Bruce Y. Lee, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote in a column for Forbes. He added, "Even if you manage to successfully pull the condom out through your mouth, inhaling a condom up your nose would be very uncomfortable and potentially quite painful. Would it really be worth all that just to get more likes and views?"
Personally, I can think of few things less pleasant that sticking a condom up my nose, but it's not just those that can cause sinus problems. Really, snorting anything unprescribed can cause wear or tear (not to mention screw with your bloodstream, since stuff that's inhaled is more directly deposited there), and I find colds and allergies irritating enough without having to suffer from the sniffles year-round.
And, as a slew of medical shows have illustrated over the years, your nasal passages are fairly narrow, and stuff can get stuck up there pretty easily. Condoms are very durable (for good reason!) and there's a good chance one'll get lodged up there en route to your throat — or, worse, get stuck in your throat and cause you to choke, or something else. Lee detailed the experience of one 26-year-old woman, as written up in the Indian Journal of Chest Diseases and Allied Sciences in 2004, who swallowed a condom while performing oral sex. "The condom went down her trachea and into her lungs, blocked one of her airways, and resulted in pneumonia and a collapse of the right upper lobe of her lung," Lee wrote. OH GOD.
Of course, none of this is to say that you shouldn't use condoms, since you absolutely should — just use them for their intended purposes, and try very hard not to swallow any.