Challenges, such as they are, are challenging. They usually contain an element of complexity or danger that, if things don’t go right, makes for a funny video. But when there is a real element of danger involved, the viral challenges can get out of hand. The “boiling water challenge” has produced some stunning visuals, but it has also sent some to the hospital.
In Chicago alone, 8 people have ended up in the hospital. The video below shows why.
The idea behind the challenge is simple. When it is crazy cold outside, boiling water can be instantly turned to snow. Boil water in a pot.
Throw the pot of water over your head in a rapid rainbow arc. The rapid temperature change makes for a great visual, and the snowy results (instead of the boiling water) fall harmlessly on your head or vanish in thin air.
“We strongly warn people to not perform the boiling water challenge,” Loyola burn surgeon Dr. Arthur Sanford told reporters. “There is no safe way to do it.”
The burn center at Loyola has been seeing an increase in burns from boiling water.
If you don’t get all of the water out of the pan, though, it has to fall somewhere. If you are half naked, that somewhere may be the back of your legs.
The science behind this phenomena is still impressive. The boiling water, when thrown, evaporates into a vapor. The vapor then condenses into a cloud before disappearing.
Sometimes, though, there is still water in the pan when you finish the arc, and that water has to go somewhere.
The trend is helping to illustrate some fun science principles, for sure, but it is also creating some pretty compelling fail videos. Laughing at other people’s pain is a time honored tradition.
But beware. This challenge actually has a dangerous side that should make some rethink their strategies.