A dangerous TikTok trend is resulting in hospitalizations of teenagers.
The viral challenge involves placing two tiny magnet balls on either side of the tongue to mimic the look of tongue piercings. Many teenagers have accidently swallowed the magnets, needing surgery to remove them before they cause damage to internal organs.
On Friday NHS issued an alert about increased hospitalizations among older children who had swallowed the magnets in an attempt to copy the online craze. An 11-years-old boy swallowed multiple magnets resulting in serious complications that required surgery. A 13-year-old girl was also hospitalized after trying out the trend.
The magnetic balls, less than 6mm in diameter, are relatively easy to swallow accidently. Once inside the intenstines, they can fuse together despite being separated by muscle wall and can cut off blood supply, leading to the tissue dying, a life-threatening and painful complication.
Many dangerous trends have originated on TikTok, including the ‘Blackout Trend’ which involved choking oneself to the point where air supply to the brain is cut off, resulting in a ‘blackout’. A 10-years-old child in the US died after trying the trend.
After a user posted pictures of herself accidently using Gorilla Glue on her hair, the cautionary tale was used to start another dangerous trend, resulting not in loss of life but multiple cases of loss of hair.