The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has urged people to cease marinating chicken in a pan with the over-the-counter medication for the flu and cold in response to a viral TikTok craze that has the potential to result in food poisoning or, worse, death. The NyQuil chicken challenge, also known as the ‘Sleepy Chicken’ challenge, involves frying two chicken breasts while taking the cold and flu medication NyQuil.
Since the video became popular in January of this year, more than 1.3 million videos have been shared on TikTok with the hashtag #sleepychicken, according to US Today. ‘The task is dumb and boring, and it sounds like it. But it may also be quite dangerous. A drug can become significantly more concentrated and have other qualities altered by boiling it’, FDA said.
Even if you don’t eat the chicken, breathing the drug vapours while it’s being cooked may allow significant amounts of the drug to enter your body. It could also damage your lungs, it continued. The FDA issued a warning that cooking with this particular medicine-laced mixture can be risky, even if it is done for amusement. According to the FDA, ‘Put simply: Someone might take a dangerously large dosage of the cough and cold drug without even recognising it’.
Notably, this is not the first bizarre or perhaps dangerous TikTok challenge to go viral recently. Another TikTok challenge from 2020 encouraged users to consume enormous amounts of the allergy medication diphenhydramine, of which Benadryl is one trade name, in order to experience hallucinations and become high. During the pandemic, there was also a challenge that prompted participants to lick surfaces, as well as the Blackout challenge, in which participants suffocate themselves until they pass out. Multiple people had died as a result of it.