Don’t Try This at Home

Social media consumers are no stranger to the recurring potentially dangerous challenges that circulate online, but the recent #sleepychicken challenge that emerged on TikTok (which challenges viewers to cook chicken in NyQuil) may just take the cake.

The FDA has stepped in issuing a warning of the dangers of misusing cold medication. In particular, boiling medication changes the potency and properties of the chemicals in the medication, making them harmful if consumed. Even just inhaling the vapors from the cooking (let alone ingesting the medicine-soaked chicken) allows dangerous amounts of chemicals to enter the body.

A warning message also awaits TikTok viewers who search for related videos, which reads: “Some online challenges can be dangerous, disturbing, or even fabricated. Learn how to recognize harmful challenges so you can protect your health and well-being.”

Procter & Gamble (P & G), the company which manufactures NyQuil, has stated: “At P&G, consumer safety is our number one priority, and we do not endorse any inappropriate use of our product. NyQuil is an over the counter medication that treats nighttime symptoms of the common cold and flu. It should only be taken as directed using the dosage cup provided (Adults and Children 12 years and over: 30mL every 6 hours), not to exceed (4) doses per 24 hours.”

This is not the first time images of cooking chicken in NyQuil surfaced on the internet. In 2017, Tristan Depew, a Twitter user, posted an image of chicken in NyQuil, intending it as a joke, knowing his audience was older (and potentially less susceptible).

“There was not an intention of eating the chicken or asking others to do the same,” Depew said. However, this image making its way onto TikTok is increasingly more problematic, as TikTok appeals to a much younger, impressionable crowd. Depew added that there was an oversight and lack of urgency on the FDA’s part, as they did not step in five years earlier.

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