Cinnamon can kill – this is a message that needs to be shared and one mother from Richmond, Kentucky, has taken up the task to spread it.
Brianna Rader lost her four-year-old son Matthew Rader on June 3 after he inhaled a small amount of ground cinnamon he found in a container in his kitchen.
“He started choking. It was like he was having a seizure and just collapsed,” she told WLEX.
Matthew, who had no health issues before the incident, was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead 90 minutes later. A coroner ruled the death was accidental and caused by cinnamon asphyxiation.
Now the distraught mother is warning other parents that cinnamon can kill and must be kept away from children. “[It] helps ease my breaking heart just a little to think that just maybe my baby’s story can save even just one child’s life,” she wrote on Facebook.
Inhaling cinnamon is dangerous because the spice is made from tree bark and contains cellulose fibres that don’t easily break down. When cinnamon gets into the lungs it can cause scarring, severe irritation and spasms.
The cinnamon challenge, an online stunt that dares thrill-seekers to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon without water in less than a minute, has health experts concerned. Researchers say too much cinnamon can also scar a person’s lungs as cinnamon can coat the airways and the lungs and lead to inflammation which then leads to scarring in the lungs, something called pulmonary fibrosis.
“Anyone who tries to swallow a tablespoon of dry cinnamon, when they choke on it, it not only goes down their food pipe … they also breathe in and some of this powder goes in to their airway and could get drawn into the lungs,” said Dr. Steven Lipshultz, says study author Steven Lipshultz, professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
In April 2013, a report published in US Pediatrics Journal said at least 30 teenagers across America needed medical attention after taking the cinnamon challenge in the previous 12 months. “This is a dangerous practice which can result in choking, aspiration of cinnamon powder into the lungs, and even respiratory failure requiring a ventilator in extreme cases. The stunt can also be deadly as a result of lack of oxygen to the brain in cases of choking and aspiration of the powder,” emergency doctor Robert Glatter told CBSNews.com.