Teens trying dangerous new trend called the salt, ice challenge

Doctors say when you combine salt, ice on to skin it damages living tissue

DETROIT – You know what salt does to ice on a snowy road, It causes a chemical reaction. 

Some teens are trying a dangerous trend called the salt and ice challenge. And, the results could be painful or cause serious injuries.

When you combine salt and ice on skin, it does damage to living cells and tissue.

It isn't hard to find teenagers foolish enough to try it either.

"It is in fact a stupid teenager prank or an event, something to do. What they do is they take salt and they lay it on a layer of skin and than they press ice down on it and in doing so it decreases the freezing point, which is normally 32 degrees Fahrenheit for ice, and it lowers that," said Dr. Ryan Shear.

At Botsford Hospital, mainly teenage boys are coming in with 1st, 2nd and sometimes 3rd degree skin burns from the challenge.

Doctors have seen enough teens with burns recently to know this is a problem.

"I myself have seen three to four patients here in the last six months," said Shear "Whether it's a 1st degree burn, you know it's going to be like a sun burn and treatable. As you get to 2nd and 3rd degree you are going to see blistering and 3rd degree is when it goes even deeper to the skin and potential down to the fat and muscle layer and potential bone. You get deep enough you possible could have what we call contractures or long term damage to the area and you are going to have more problems with range of motion if it's on extremities, yours arms and your legs, things like that."

Then there's the risk of infection and if the damage is too great, it can actually permanently alter the range of motion.

"If someone were to get this and cover it up, you know try to keep it from a family member, there not taking the good care they need or the wound care then absolutely there is a very potential for infection at the site." said Shear.

Because salt and ice are common every day items, they can't be legislated under lock and key, they can't be hidden away, there is no black market for them.

And so that means the only way to stop teens from trying this, is parent-power.

Parents need to be aware that this is out there so they can have a proactive discussions with their teenagers and stop this at the curiosity, dare level.

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