Saturday, 18 August 2018
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Hot Water Challenge: Why You Shouldn’t Pour Boiling Water On Someone

Why on Earth would you pour boiling water on someone as a prank? (Photo: Shutterstock)

There are stupid challenges. Then there are really stupid challenges. And then there is the Hot Water Challenge. Why on Earth would you think that pouring boiling water on someone or drinking boiling water through a straw would somehow not be a very bad idea?

It is not clear how many people have been foolish enough to even try this challenge. But there have already been some victims such as the 15-year-old in this ABC 10 News report:

As you can see, the teen was left with severe burns after his “friend” apparently poured boiling hot water on him as a prank. Sorry but a prank is putting a “kick me” sign on your back, filling your office with rutabagas, or replacing your underwear with lettuce. It is not doing something that lands you in the hospital and could potentially scar you for life and even kill you.

And your friends need to understand simple science: very hot liquids can scald you, badly damaging your skin and other body tissues. Otherwise, you need to get new friends.

There is no reason boiling water should go anywhere near your skin or mouth. Obviously, the risk and speed of injury increases as the temperature of the water increases. Avoid touching any water that is hotter than 120º Fahrenheit, which can cause a third degree burn after only 5 minutes of contact. While the exact timing may vary from person to person, contact with 155º F water can cause a third degree burn in just 1 second, 140º F in 3 seconds, and 130º in about 10 seconds. If you want to take a bath, keep the water much cooler, below 100º F. A bath with hotter water becomes less a bath and more a soup with you as an ingredient. 

If you have a science-impaired friend who burns you with a hot liquid, immediately separate yourself from the hot liquid and apply cool running water to the area for at least 20 minutes. But don’t submerge yourself in cold water, especially if your burn affects a large part of your body, because you don’t want to lose too much body heat. This could impair your body’s ability to heal and even cause you to go into shock.

Stick with cool water to soothe the area and don’t use or lotion, which can actually cause more damage. And for Pete’s sake, do not apply butter or oil to the affected area. You are not basting yourself.

This also isn’t the time to be modest. So remove clothing and jewelry around the affected area as they can lead to further damage and impair circulation to the area. However, if your clothing or other items are stuck to the burn, don’t yank or tear it away.

Try protecting the area by covering it with moist bandages or a clean cloth but don’t wrap the area too tightly and risk further damage and cutting off blood circulation. Oh, and call your doctor for further instructions.

The other version of the hot water challenge is getting a person to drink really hot water through a straw, which ended up killing an 8-year old girl:

Dealing with internal burns is even more challenging as it is difficult to see the extent of the injury or reach the affected area. Have a very low threshold for calling your doctor.

Again, you can’t tell for sure how widespread this Challenge has become. If you search for Hot Water Challenge on YouTube and various social media outlets, you will find a number of videos of people supposedly undergoing the Hot Water Challenge. But videos on social media are a bit like body parts in Los Angeles and Hollywood. You can’t quite tell what is really real. Some people may be pretending that they are dousing themselves or others with boiling hot water or drinking it through a straw. You can’t quite verify the temperature of the water being used.

Nonetheless, even fake actions can result in people imitating with real actions. Based on the news reports at least some people are using legitimate boiling water and suffering the consequences. Clearly, some people are forgetting the adage: if life gives you boiling hot water, you don’t pour it on yourself or drink it through a straw just because others seem to be doing so.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2018/07/29/hot-water-challenge-why-you-shouldnt-pour-boiling-water-on-someone/

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