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Doctors warning kids, parents about dangers of viral 'Shell On' challenge

Posted: 11:41 AM, Apr 19, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-19 12:41:09-04

To kids, eating a sandwich in a plastic bag may seem like fun in the latest challenge on social media, but doctors are warning kids and their parents of the dangers.

A teen from Arizona is taking a bite out of plastic bag with carrots in it, and then swallowing it. It's the latest potentially dangerous challenges young people are posting to social media, mostly on Snapchat.

It's called the Shell On challenge, and it involves everything from taking a bite out of an unpeeled banana or lemon, to eating food with the plastic wrapping or cardboard packaging still on it.

"I don't know that a lot of teenagers think ahead to, 'oh, I'm gonna wash this lemon before I do this challenge,'" said Dr. Danelle Stabel with the Henry Ford Health System.

And that's just the concern over pesticides that may be on the outside of an unpeeled fruit because it's not meant for people to digest. However, Stabel says she's more concerned when the Shell On challenge involves plastic wrappings that can put anyone taking a bite out of it in immediate danger.

"Those are more concerning to me because anything that you eat that is not meant to be digested, you can choke on," Stabel said. "The risk of breathing that in and choking is the biggest thing to me, and again it's just not meant to be digested depending on how big of a bite they take."

Stabel has this advice for parents:

"I always encourage parents to be active in their kids' social media accounts and know what they're posting online."

She added that kids should also look for other ways to entertain themselves on social media.