PINE BELT (WDAM) - If you haven't seen it on social media yet, warnings continue across the country regarding the dangerous "Tide Pod Challenge."
The challenge, often seen through videos posted to Facebook or Youtube, shows individuals attempting to eat the liquid laundry detergent pods, including putting them on pizza or just biting into them.
The Mississippi Poison Control Center has not had any reports of tide pod ingestion, intentional or unintentional, for teenagers, ages 13 - 18, in the last six months
Dr. Robert Cox, the Director of Medical Toxicology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center said he thought of one thing when he heard of the challenge: "stupidity."
"The problem has not spread here yet and we hope it doesn't," Cox said. But, that's not the case across the country.
On Monday, the American Association of Poison Control Centers issued a "high alert" in response to a sharp rise in the numbers of teenagers eating Tide laundry detergent pods.
The AAPCC reports reported 86 cases of intentional exposure to liquid laundry packets, in ages 13-19, on January 22, 2018. That's nearly double the cases reported just the week before, at 39.
"First off, it's kind of hard to believe it would happen and the more you read about it, the more you think is - what are the health implications," said Dr. Allen Martin, Family Medicine Physician with the Hattiesburg Clinic.
The health implications from misuse can be serious. The AAPCC reports potential effects include seizures, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death.
"First thing you notice when you put it in your mouth is it's going to taste bitter and nasty," said Martin. "And then shortly there after, as it dissolves in your saliva, you are going to feel a burning on your tongue, the inside of your mouth and your lips. A lot of times, the body's response to that will be an inflammatory response, that could turn into swelling, which could close your airways."
Dr. Martin said the detergent can then be inhaled into a person's lungs, where he or she can suffocate, or into the esophagus, which could lead to infections or possible needs for surgery.
"Most of these things are well labeled, do not ingest, call Poison Control, and they are labeled like that for a reason," said Martin.