Doctors warn parents about 'laundry pod challenge'

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Parents have long been warned to keep laundry pods out of the reach of small children.

Now, that same warning is being extended to teens who are eating the detergent packs as a part of what's being called the 'laundry pod challenge'.

Videos and memes on social media show people eating the pods, even putting them on food to be cooked.

But what may have been meant as a joke can lead to serious problems.

"This can cause a burn to your mouth, your lips, your breathing tube, your feeding tube, your esophagus," said Dr. Frank LoVecchio, health toxicologist with Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona.

He says the new fad is similar to the cinnamon challenge but worse. He said before the liquid comes another concern.

"The membrane around it dissolves can cause central nervous system depression," said LoVecchio.

Eating highly-concentrated detergent pods can also cause diarrhea, vomiting and breathing difficulties if it finds its way to the lungs. In some cases, it can even be "life-threatening."

Tide's website states if someone you know has swallowed one of its products to have them drink a glass of water or milk and call the national poison help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or text POISON to 797979.