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Dangers of dry ice and liquid nitrogen: The hidden risks behind Instagram-worthy dishes

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If swallowed by mistake, dry ice can cause a health emergency, leading to issues like frostbite, breathlessness, burns to mouth, vomiting, etc. It is important to act quickly during this time and the patient must be given a cooling agent or antacid to relieve symptoms.

There’s a cautionary tale about the potential dangers lurking beneath the surface of these eye-catching creations.Picture: Pexels

HAVE you ever been to a restaurant where the drinks and desserts look like they’ve been sprinkled with a touch of magic? You know, the ones that come with billowing clouds of mist and a sprinkle of enchantment?

It’s all thanks to the mysterious and mesmerising dry ice, the secret ingredient that turns ordinary dishes into Instagram-worthy works of art.

But as it turns out, not all that glitters is gold because, behind the smoke and mirrors, there’s a cautionary tale about the potential dangers lurking beneath the surface of these eye-catching creations.

Imagine going out for a fun evening with friends, only to end up in a nightmare after consuming what you thought was a harmless mouth freshener.

That’s exactly what happened to five people at a café in Gurugram, a city in India, as they found themselves spitting out blood and experiencing extreme discomfort after being served dry ice instead of the usual post-meal treat, according to news reports.

In India, frinds found themselves spitting out blood and experiencing extreme discomfort after being served dry ice instead of the usual post-meal treat, according to news reports. Picture: Screenshot

In a video that has since gone viral on social media, the distressing scene shows the group of friends reportedly vomiting blood after consuming the mouth freshener.

Their evening took a terrifying turn, landing them in the hospital with burning sensations in their mouths and severe vomiting, as reported by the “Hindustan Times”.

@22words #mrhungry #itstimetoeat #dryice #umai👺 ♬ original sound – 22words

But what exactly is dry ice and why is it so dangerous for consumption?

Well, it turns out that dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide and if ingested accidentally, it can cause serious burns and internal injuries.

While it’s commonly used for creating smoke or fog effects in entertainment and theatre, as well as for preserving perishable items during shipping, its frigid temperature of about -78 degrees Celsius poses significant health risks if it comes into direct contact with the body or is consumed.

According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), dry ice is typically used as a cooling agent for food products like ice cream and frozen desserts. It is also used for items that need to be kept cold or frozen without the use of mechanical cooling.

However, its potential dangers make it clear that dry ice should never be mistaken for a harmless ingredient in our food and drinks.

Eating dry ice can be extremely dangerous due to its extreme coldness. Picture: Devin Rajaram /Unsplash

What happens when you eat dry ice?

Eating dry ice can be extremely dangerous due to its extreme coldness and the potential for carbon dioxide gas leakage.

Dr Ashutosh Shukla, Medical Adviser and Senior Director of Internal Medicine at Max Hospital, Gurugram, warns that swallowing dry ice can lead to serious consequences such as frostbite, tissue damage, breathlessness, burns to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract, bloating, abdominal pain, and even asphyxiation if the gas replaces oxygen in the blood.

If someone accidentally swallows dry ice, it can lead to a health emergency with symptoms like frostbite, breathlessness, burns to the mouth, and vomiting. Quick action is crucial, and the patient may need a cooling agent or antacid to relieve symptoms.

However, it’s not just dry ice that’s causing a stir, though. Liquid nitrogen, often used for its dramatic effect in fancy foods, can also spell trouble if it’s not handled with care.

Ingesting liquid nitrogen can result in serious internal damage, including frostbite and tissue injuries.

The consequences? Think of severe internal damage, including frostbite and tissue damage, as well as vomiting, bleeding, and other severe health complications.

How should one respond if someone accidentally swallows dry ice?

If someone accidentally swallows dry ice, it is important to respond quickly and seek medical help immediately. The person should not induce vomiting, as this can cause further damage.

Instead, they should be given a cooling agent or antacid to help relieve symptoms and emergency medical services should be contacted right away.

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