The “salt and ice” challenge is going viral again. For Queensland mum Rebecca Etherington, this comes as terrifying news. Her teenage daughter is still suffering from when she did the challenge two years ago.
The challenge involves people putting salt on their skin, and then pressing an ice cube on top. The temperature of the mixture rapidly drops to well below freezing point, causing intense pain. It can result in injuries similar to frostbite.
In January 2015, Etherington’s 14-year-old daughter Hannah took part in the challenge at a sleepover. Etherington says for Hannah, it was all about the “pain factor”.
“The reason she did it was to prove that she could hold out longer than the guys,” she explains to Mamamia. “That was the thing. They knew it was going to hurt.”
Hannah ended up with a third-degree burn about the size of a business card on her leg. It quickly became infected, requiring treatment with antibiotics.
The burn on Hannah's leg, soon after the challenge. (Image: Rebecca Etherington)
“Because it was such a bad burn, it blistered, and then once the blister went away, she was left with this pile of grossness," Etherington remembers. "There was skin trying to grow back, but it was still filling with partial blisters. Any knock would start it bleeding again, and then more blisters would come up."
The healing was a long process.
“It hurt a lot when she showered. She wanted to go swimming with her friends but she couldn’t, so she missed out on a lot. She still now has aches in her leg. It constantly feels like a bruise. That’s how she describes it."
Etherington says Hannah has been left with an "horrific" scar.
"She’s not one to worry about body image, but as she gets older, she’s not going to like it."
As bad as Hannah's scar is, the "salt and ice" challenge has resulted in even worse consequences.
"I’ve heard of other kids overseas that did the same thing and it got infected, and they got blood poisoning and died because they hid it from their parents," Etherington says. "They didn’t want their parents to know."
Other kids are now harming themselves by doing the "salt and ice" challenge. (Image: Instagram/Chasing Faces UK)
Etherington is disturbed to hear that a new crop of kids is now taking on the challenge.
"I just want to shake them and say, 'Oi!’ It's stupidity at its finest. It shows just how little kids this age really think about the consequences of what they do.
"They have absolutely no idea, and that terrifies me."
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