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Don't Try This at Home

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It may taste great on toast, or dusting your latte, but trying to swallow a spoonful of it could land you in the hospital.

The cinnamon challenge is an internet sensation. Videos showing kids coughing and gagging have gone viral. It may look funny when you see it on you tube, but trying to swallow a tablespoon of this caustic spice in a minute is far from harmless, according to a new study in the journal pediatrics.

What the videos don’t show is some of the cinnamon being aspirated. It goes down your windpipe into your lungs, causing inflammation, allergic reactions, possibly pneumonia, and sometimes scarring.

Once it gets into your lungs, it stays there. It doesn't dissolve; the lungs can’t break it down like your stomach does.

Poison control centers are getting increasing calls about this prank- from just over 50 in 2011 to 122 calls in the first half of 2012. Thirty kids needed medical attention. One had a collapsed lung and had to be put on a ventilator.

Warn your kids. Make sure they know it isn't safe. Tell them not to do it.

Cinnamon, taken this way, is not the spice of life.