UPDATE: Jan. 23 ― A spokesman for Utah State University said the incident Saturday was unrelated to any social media challenges.
“It was not a Tide Pod challenge incident, despite all the reports. It was something much more private,” said Tim Vitale, executive director of public relations and marketing for the university.
A Utah State University student was reportedly taken to a hospital on Saturday after swallowing a Tide detergent pod just days after health officials released repeated warnings against ingesting them.
Local media captured video of the unidentified student being wheeled to an ambulance on a stretcher from a Logan campus dormitory. The hospital has not released the student’s condition.
Health officials have warned that ingesting laundry detergent can cause seizures, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma and even death. The warning follows an increase in teenagers requiring medical treatment after intentionally eating or exposing themselves to the toxins amid a so-called “Tide Pod Challenge” on social media.
Eric Warren, director of media relations at USU, confirmed the incident to Salt Lake City station Fox 13, but he added that the school does not know the reason why the student ingested the pod.
“For students and members of our university who are feeling overwhelmed, we have services available. There are people here to talk to you,” he said in a statement.
Incidents of children eating or being harmfully exposed to the laundry detergent packets have been reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers for several years, with the products’ colorful appearance often seen as resembling candy.
It was only recently that there was an uptick in teenagers intentionally eating and exposing themselves to the products, the AAPCC said last week.
That increase follows the “Tide Pod Challenge” gaining momentum on social media. It’s prompted people to post memes and videos of themselves eating the detergent, mostly as a joke, in an apparent attempt to get online attention.
Because detergent is toxic, if it is consumed, officials urge people to call the poison-control helpline immediately at 800-222-1222.