Nottinghamshire parents are being warned of a new social media craze in which children ‘dare’ each other to take painkillers.
In the so-called Paracetamol Challenge, youngsters have been challenging each other to take the over-the-counter tablets.
The craze first appeared in Scotland and health chiefs in Nottinghamshire have warned that even a small overdose can be deadly.
Dr Ruth Cooper, Governing Body member of NHS Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are urging all parents to be vigilant as social media crazes like the one currently happening in Scotland can spread rapidly. Paracetamol is a safe and effective drug when the correct dosages are used, but even a small overdose can have life-changing or fatal consequences.
“Anyone who takes over the recommended daily dose of 4gms for an adult, which is only 8 tablets in any 24hr period, should seek medical advice as an emergency.
“It’s important that parents are constantly monitoring their children’s use of social media such as Facebook and Instagram which are used to spread this potentially lethal game.”
Dr Kate Allen, Children’s Commissioning and Consultant in Public Health at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Although we have not heard of any cases in Nottinghamshire, it’s important that schools, parents and children stay vigilant and are aware of the potential health risks.
“Even a small overdose of paracetamol or other painkillers can cause permanent damage to health and have life-changing or sometimes fatal consequences. It is never worth taking the risk.
“We would urge parents to talk to their children about the dangers of taking paracetamol and to discourage them from engaging in any online activity in support of this dangerous craze.”
In Scotland, police were called in after one person was thought to have been hospitalised after taking part in what education chiefs describes as a ‘dangerous craze’.
Schools in East Ayrshire have sent out letters to alert parents and youngsters. Warnings were also made at school assemblies.
Other social media crazes from the last year include the ‘ice bucket challenge’ and the ‘neck-nomination’.