Interest in ‘NyQuil chicken challenge’ surged following FDA warning, data shows


The social media video challenge about cooking chicken in NyQuil, a cold and flu medicine, seems to have gotten a hold of netizens. After the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about not to do it, searches for NyQuil chicken rose significantly. TikTok reported that searches jumped from five on September 14 to around 7,000 by September 21.

The FDA had issued a statement on September 15 warning of social media videos encouraging people to cook chicken in NyQuil. “The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing, and it is. But it could also be very unsafe.”

Also Read | US FDA warns against viral TikTok challenge where people cook food with flu medicine  

“Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways. Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs,” the notice said.

While it is unclear how many of those searches translated into people actually participating in the trend, most related content on TikTok shows people reacting with outrage to the same video of a person cooking chicken in NyQuil, TechCrunch reported.


TikTok has diverted searches for “NyQuil chicken” to a warning about online challenges, a spokesperson told BuzzFeed.

Government agencies and the media have been having a difficult time responding to dangerous social media challenges. While the motive mostly is to raise awareness about something that people ought not to do, it ends up attracting even more attention to the matter. 

Some people have even lost their lives in the past attempting some such challenges, such as the “Benadryl challenge”. The families of an eight-year-old and nine-year-old who died while trying a “blackout” challenge have sued TikTok.

(With inputs from agencies)


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