Cinnamon powder dangers explained by MS Poison Control expert - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Cinnamon powder dangers explained by MS Poison Control expert

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - The cinnamon choking death of a Kentucky four year old sounds an alarm with parents, but such incidents are very limited in Mississippi, and until now, deaths were unheard of.  

"This is the first death that I'm aware of," said Dr. Robert Cox, the Medical Director of the Mississippi Poison Control Center.

Dr. Cox says his agency has never had a call about a young child ingesting cinnamon. However, he is well aware how dangerous it can be in adolescents who venture to take the cinnamon challenge which is popular on You Tube. 

Dr. Cox says there's been one serious case of lung damage in a teenager in Mississippi which resulted from the cinnamon challenge. That teen has recovered.  

There is nothing in cinnamon that makes it poisonous.  It becomes a threat to the respiratory system when it's used incorrectly and inhaled.  

"Cinnamon is basically tree bark and it doesn't dissolve," said Dr. Cox. "It doesn't go away, so it just sits there in the lungs and it's irritating and can cause severe pneumonitis, or irritation to the lungs."

Overall, calls to Poison Control about inhaling cinnamon are limited in the past few years. 

"We've had no calls in 2015," added Dr. Cox. "Two calls last year. And three calls a year for the previous two years."

Only one of those calls involved a young child. 

"Surprisingly in Mississippi, most of the ingestions we've seen are older people who are using it and happen to open it, it spills and they get a whiff of it and they're concerned and call the poison center," said Dr. Cox.

Dr. Cox says the cinnamon related death of a Kentucky boy is a painful reminder to all parents. 

"In the home, we have lots of potentially dangerous things," he said. "All of those cabinets need to stay locked up. Children do not need access to those cabinets."

Copyright 2015 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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