LOS ANGELES - Doctors are warning over a dangerous TikTok challenge involving fake tongue piercings with magnetic balls, said to pose a deadly risk if the magnets are swallowed.
"Warning: Families, be aware of a TikTok challenge where kids pretend to have tongue piercings by placing magnetic balls on their tongue." Cincinnati Childrens wrote in a tweet. "This is potentially deadly if they accidentally swallow them. Revisit the dangers of high-powered magnets & talk to your kids about the dangers."
"There's no safe way to have high-powered magnets in a home with kids," Dr. Bryan Rudolph wrote.
TikTok user Dr. Karan Raj warned that the swallowed magnets can clump together and risk squeezing the intestines and threatening blood flow. He also warned the issue can be fatal without emergency bowel surgery, adding that two children were rushed to emergency surgery over the challenge.
"This is not a fun thing to do," another user, Dr. Maha Hashim, dental surgeon in London, said in video posted to the social platform. "It’s very, very dangerous, it can be life threatening and you may end up having surgery and you may not even survive the surgery so I urge all these youngsters to refrain from putting magnets in the mouth with the risk of swallowing."
Another user, @helpigotmagnetstuckonlip, gathered over 20,000 views on a TikTok video showing two magnetic balls allegedly stuck on the top of the lip.
Some users responded, urging to call 911, while others questioned why the magnets were there in the first place. Others were less empathic.
"That sounds like a you problem," several wrote.
Overall, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, many incidents of ingested magnets have resulted in surgeries, and the agency advises seeking immediate medical attention, and watching for symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.