Snow Challenge Poses Major Threat to Health


by Leslie Hemenway

Eleven months ago, YouTuber Cassi Robyne posted a video of her brother participating in the snow challenge. So far, it’s received over 29 thousand views.

If there’s one thing that can be said about teenagers today, it’s that they’re all about taking risks. While this is usually a commendable trait, sometimes young adults have a tendency to take it too far, to the point of where their actions are downright senseless. This has been demonstrated with a number of popular “challenges” over the years, such as the cinnamon challenge (where one must swallow a spoonful of cinnamon without any beverage), the salt and ice challenge (where one puts salt on their body and then ice on top), and, most recently, the snow challenge.

The snow challenge is when someone foolishly jumps around and parades in the snow with minimal clothing, if any at all. It may be seem like a fun way to pass the time for some people, but it can pose a major risk to your health.

Frostbite is a huge potential danger that the snow challenge poses. According to Dr. Taizoon Baxamusa of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “It takes only minutes for exposed skin to become frostbitten if the temperature falls below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind is blowing at 20 miles per hour or more.”

Recently in Michigan, temperatures have dropped as low as -10°F. Standing around in such intensely frigid weather while being dressed in little to no clothing makes it far too easy to be frostbitten.

Okay, so what’s the big deal? Well, according to eMedicine Health’s website, minimal frostbite can cause feelings of burning, numbness, tingling, etc. while the body parts affected take on a white and frozen appearance. In severe cases of frostbite, the victim’s skin will take on a white or yellow hue as blisters begin to form. As reported by Meredith Cohn of the Baltimore Sun, “Severe frostbite can cause loss of the involved body tissue.”

If you’re still tempted to plunge into a snowbank with nothing but your swimsuit on, look up pictures of severe frostbite. I have to warn you though, some images are incredibly graphic and nauseating.

With all this in mind, it seems ridiculous to me that young adults would willingly choose to participate in the snow challenge. Considering that the snow challenge is usually recorded and then uploaded onto social media sites, I think it’s safe to assume that this is done in the hopes of gaining attention. No amount of attention is worth risking the contraction of frostbite. Teenagers should think about the consequences of their actions more thoroughly before blindly doing something reckless.

In a nutshell, running around in freezing temperatures with barely anything on and then posting about it on Twitter is the epitome of stupidity. It’s not a new concept, it just has an official name now, and it’s as unoriginal as it is dim-witted. Winter is meant to be spent either indoors with a mug of delicious hot chocolate or outdoors while being bundled up in a heavy coat with a pair of gloves, a scarf, and a hat. Save your swimsuit for summertime.