‘Salt And Ice’ Challenge Gives 12-Year-Old Boy Second-Degree Burns

A 12-year-old boy has sustained second-degree burns on his back in the shape of a cross following a “salt and ice” challenge, a fad that has been building up among teens across the nation.

The Huffington Post reports that the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania youth sustained the burns after engaging in the challenge, which is being featured on YouTube videos and social networking sites. In the game, kids are supposed to hold salt and ice to their skin as long as they can stand it, or until the injury becomes too severe.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes that Dr. Ariel Aballay, director of the Burn Center, held a news conference to speak to parents about the dangerous injuries the game can cause, saying that videos of people competing in the challenge are very accurate. Aballay explains that it takes just seconds for the challenge to cause first-degree cold injuries that take days to heal.

The Pittsburgh youth’s injuries caused huge blisters, and will require a drug treatment with a lotion applied four times per day for months. His injuries will keep him from swimming, going outside without a shirt, and he must have his back washed whenever he sweats for the rest of the summer. Dr. Aballay states that:

“The injury is similar to frostbite that can result in mild cold injury but it also could increase in severity based on the time the ice is applied. The longer, the more serious the injury. This patient went for a few minutes, but there have been cases that went for six or seven minutes that resulted in third-degree injuries. Hopefully his wound will heal [without scarring].”

WPXI notes that the victim’s family released a statement on Friday, saying:

“We want teenagers and the general public to know that the ‘salt and ice challenge’ is extremely dangerous. Videos on You Tube, Facebook and other social media do not accurately show the terrible injuries that can result. We are grateful that our son is recovering and hope that sharing his story will stop other young people from attempting this stunt.”

Have you ever heard of or participated in the “salt and ice challenge?”