Photo: @eatwithkaren on Instagram
Summer’s almost over (at least in terms of school) but there are still plenty of fairs and festivals to visit before the season truly comes to an end. However, with the one trendy snack often seen at these events, as well as at mall kiosks, is coming under fire for being downright dangerous to kids. The snack? A popular Korean dessert called Dragon’s Breath.
Dragon’s Breath is a Fruit-Loop like cereal cooled with liquid nitrogen.
Because liquid nitrogen is so very cold, when you eat the dessert, dry-ice like smoke will come out of your mouth and nostrils, making you resemble a dragon. That’s where Dragon’s Breath gets its unusual and appropriate name. A quick search of the hashtag #dragonsbreath on Instagram will show you lots of videos of people, especially kids, trying the dessert and getting the smoke effect.
Unfortunately, Dragon’s Breath is not all “fun and games” as it appears to be.
The reality is, liquid nitrogen can be dangerous and it’s just unnecessary to ingest it on a lark, for a fun dessert. Several parents are now warning others after their kids have suffered injuries and undergone hospitalization after eating Dragon’s Breath.
Florida boy hospitalized after eating Dragon’s Breath
About a week ago, Florida mom Racheal McKenny posted on Facebook about a terrifying experience her son Jonny had with Dragon’s Breath after trying it a local mall kiosk. Her post has since been shared nearly 100,000 times. McKenny posted a video of her two kids eating Dragon’s Breath along with a photo of the dessert, and said:
“Dragon’s Breath WARNING
I want to share Johnny’s story with everyone to serve as a cautionary tale in hopes that it could prevent this from happening again.
There is a snack served at mall kiosks called ‘Dragon’s Breath’. It’s a liquid nitrogen infused cereal that, when eaten, allows you to blow smoke like a dragon. Sounds pretty neat, right? There’s also a video that highlights people eating it. The video plays on a TV next to the kiosk and captures the attention of everyone that passes by. Johnny saw it and wanted to try it yesterday. Unfortunately, I let him.”
She then went on to give “a bit of backstory” and explained that Jonny has asthma and a prescription inhaler and nebulizer machine at home, but that his asthma is not severe and that they use the two asthma helpers less than ten times a year combined. Though she says she takes his inhaler along on outings that require lots of physical exercise, like theme parks, it never crossed her mind that he might need his inhaler on a mall shopping trip. She continues their harrowing story:
“We took the kids up to The Avenues mall in Jacksonville yesterday. On our way out, we let the kids split one order of the Dragon’s Breath cereal treats. They had fun and it seemed harmless enough. We left the mall right after that and started the 40-minute car ride home. About 10-minutes into the ride home, Johnny started an occasional cough. Around 20 minutes in, the cough became really consistent. By the time we passed the Palencia sub division, he was coughing so bad that he was having trouble catching his breath. We knew he couldn’t breathe, and we knew that we couldn’t get him to the hospital in time.
Thankfully, John knew that there was a firehouse just down the road near the courthouse and the jail. I’ve lived in St. Augustine for more than 25-years and didn’t know there was one there. Please, if you do not know where the EMTs are located in your town, then look it up.
We were able to stop at the fire station and the EMTs were able to immediately start Johnny on an albuterol treatment and hook him up to an IV while preparing him for transport. The nebulizer was not improving his breathing at all and, by the time they got him loaded into the ambulance, he needed a shot of epinephrine. Johnny had a second breathing treatment and steroid on the way to the hospital and was doing so much better by the time we got to Flagler Hospital.
What triggered this? The liquid nitrogen smoke from the Dragon’s Breath cereal.
PLEASE, if you know someone that has even just a mild case of asthma, do NOT let them have this snack. I should have known better, but it did not occur to me that this food could have this effect. As a result, my son could have died. Please don’t make the same mistake I did.
Even if I had Johnny’s albuterol, I’m not sure it would have been enough since he didn’t start improving until he had the epinephrine shot. But, it might have stopped or slowed the attack long enough to get to the hospital in time. That being said, if you have a loved one that has an inhaler for any reason, please ALWAYS keep it with you. Maybe that should go without even needing to be said, but it’s certainly important enough to reiterate. Johnny has never needed his inhaler before (even on afternoons where he walks 5+miles in the theme parks), so I’ve never switched it to my purse for simple shopping trips. Again, this was my mistake. Please don’t do that.
Johnny is home now. He will be on steroids the next few days and his nebulizer machine as needed, but he’s doing well.
Finally, THANK YOU to the amazing heroes at the St.Johns County Fire Rescue station #12. The men there saved Johnny’s life. I am eternally gratefully[sic].”
McKenny believes that if they had not found that fire station, her son might have died from the effects of the liquid nitrogen found in Dragon’s Breath.
McKenny’s isn’t the only story of a child being harmed by Dragon’s Breath; in another Florida incident, a 14-year-old girl burned her thumb very badly on the incredibly cold liquid nitrogen and also had to be hospitalized. In South Korea, where the dessert is much more common, a 12-year-old boy drank some of the liquid nitrogen at the bottom of his cup of Dragon’s Breath and it cause a huge 5-inch perforation in his stomach, which required emergency surgery.
The bottom line, parents? Dragon’s Breath my look cool but it’s not worth the risk.
Liquid nitrogen’s extremely low temperature, between negative 196 and negative 320 degrees Fahrenheit, just makes it dangerous to ingest. Even though it’s not uncommon in crazy cocktails and eye-catching desserts, there’s just no reason to risk your kid’s health for a cool picture of smoke coming out of their nose.
Have you ever tried Dragon’s Breath? If so, what was your experience?