New ‘challenge’ for teens could leave burns

KSN News (file)
KSN News (KSN File Photo)

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The mother of a Salina teenager wants to warn other parents about a new “ice and salt challenge” that could seriously injure their children.

Zakree Lindsey, 15, is recovering from second- or third-degree burns on his arm after he was taken to the emergency room Sunday. He suffered the burns after sprinkling salt on his arm, pressing ice on the salt and seeing how long he could keep the ice on his arm.

Lindsey “won” the challenge with friends by holding the ice on his arm for about 7 minutes on Saturday. But he went to the hospital Sunday suffering from a serious case of frostbite and huge blisters.

“We thought it would be fun,” he said.

The salt lowers the freezing point of water and it quickly pulls heat out of the surrounding tissue.

“He said that after he pulled the ice off, his arm was hard and white, and by the time I saw it, it was pretty gruesome looking,” said his mother, Dawn Parson.

Dr. Keir Swisher, co-medical director of the emergency department at Salina Regional, said the potential for injury increases with the length of contact between the ice and the skin.

“Risks of taking the salt and ice challenge would be tissue injury (permanent injury to the skin, nerves, muscle and tissue),” Swisher wrote in an email. “There is also a risk of skin infection, especially once progressing to and past second-degree frostbite.”

Other risks include an antibiotic resistant infection and tetanus, he said, particularly for people who smoke or have diabetes.

“It’s just ice and salt, things that are around every house,” Parson said. “It seems like just a stupid game, but this is pretty serious.”

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