the chickens are about to get even more free range

Kids, Please Don’t Cook Your Chicken in Nyquil

Sleepy chicken, anyone?

For as long as social media has existed, there has been a revolving door of deeply stupid trends and challenges. From the well-meaning (ice bucket challenge) to the goofy (remember planking?) to the downright dangerous (Tide pod challenge), humanity simply cannot get enough of filming themselves ingesting poison for likes and LOLs. And look, I get it: we were all young and dumb once. But a new TikTok challenge is pushing the limits of healthy, safety, and common sense. The latest bad idea to take ahold of social is the Nyquil chicken challenge aka the sleepy chicken. The trend features folks across the country cooking raw chicken in Nyquil or similar cold and cough syrups.

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In addition to being gross and unappetizing (and wasting perfectly good chicken and medicine), the Nyquil chicken challenge is also dangerous! So much so that the FDA had to release a statement warning of the dangers of overdosing on medicines like acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine. Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways. The statement reads, “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.” So yeah, this is bad news! I’m also gagging at the above video, where the cook pours the leftover syrup BACK INTO THE BOTTLE. That’s how you get salmonella!

The Darwin award winners behind this challenge follow in the footsteps of the equally stupid and deadly Benadryl challenge, which saw people taking overdoses of Benadryl to try to induce hallucinations. And they literally died! Do you really want your obituary to read, ” YOUR NAME died from being an asshat on social media via a platform that no longer exists”? Look, if you want to induce hallucinations, do it the natural way: by taking magic mushrooms like your parents did. Many took to social media to mock the challenge and the people foolish enough to not only cook and eat sleepy chicken, but to share their poor judgment with the world.

In summation, for the love of all that is holy, please don’t cook your chicken in Nyquil. I’ll take a step further and say, maybe don’t cook anything in Nyquil or any OTC medicine ever? In the meantime, you can enjoy my newly minted social media gambit: the salt, pepper, garlic, and a few sprigs of rosemary for something edible that won’t kill you challenge! Can’t wait for it to take off on TikTok.

(via NBC New York, featured image: Dreamworks Animation/ Aardman)

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Image of Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.