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New 'Chili Pepper' Game Causing Burns, Officials Warn

New 'Chili Pepper' Game Causing Burns, Officials Warn Promo Image

Officials in France are warning parents about a new schoolyard game that's putting some kids in the hospital.

The game, known as the "chili pepper challenge," is just the latest in viral stunt-based challenges that have encouraged teens all over the world to participate in sometimes dangerous acts.

The challenge has kids bringing extremely hot chili peppers to school and throwing them into the eyes and mouths of their fellow students, according to The Connexion France. It also encourages children to squash the peppers against their own skin, which can cause burns.  

In one area of France, a teacher sent a letter to parents after three children were burned while participating in the game and had to be treated at the hospital.

Officials are now warning parents in other regions of the country as a way to "act in prevention" before the challenge's popularity spreads.

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"This new challenge is slowly making itself known in playgrounds and on social networks," said police in a statement.

Viral challenges have been popular around the world, and videos of people engaging in often dangerous stunts continue to rack up thousands of views.

In the U.K., children have intentionally given themselves painful burns and scars by rubbing ice and salt on their skin as part of a so-called "ice and salt challenge."

The craze, which began in 2012 but became popular again in January, challenges kids to see who can withstand pain the longest, according to the New York Post. 

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Salt drops the temperature of ice to 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which has the potential to cause frostbite. 

"It is important for schools keep a close eye on all emerging trends and we welcome the warning to parents," said a spokesperson for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in the U.K. "The rise of social media has contributed to increasing peer pressure among children. This ‘craze’ [salt and ice challenge] is another clear example of the risks."

Ice leaves the skin numb, so it can take a while before children notice that the effects of the challenge. In many cases, the children aren't getting the proper medical attention they need until it's too late.

The challenge has also made its way to the U.S., where doctors say several children have been treated for frostbite injuries in the past year.

"Some of the pictures you'll see on the internet and YouTube, those kids have third-degree burns," Dr. Brian Wagers, pediatric physician at Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana, told WXIN. "I mean it turns it to leather essentially. So you lose the blood vessels that are in there. You lose sensation, because of the nerve endings ... You'll never have like hair if you did it on your arms. So you'll have a bald patch."

Sources: The Connexion France, New York Post, WXIN via AOL / Featured Image: Manicosity/Flickr / Embedded Images: Jessica/Flickr, KOMUnews/Flickr

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