The ill-advised stunt involves putting salt on bare skin then pressing ice on top of it. The combination causes a chemical reaction that burns the skin almost immediately.
The Pittsburgh boy, his twin brother and their friend learnt about the ‘challenge’ through Facebook and You Tube.
Lying on his stomach, his brother and friend poured salt in the shape of a cross on his back before pushing ice onto it.
The challenge, which has become popularized largely through You Tube videos, is to see how long you can withstand the pain.
The boy had the ice on his back for a few minutes – resulting in such severe blistering burns that he needed hospital treatment and will be recovering for the rest of the summer.
He needs drug treatment which involves applying lotion four times daily for months and he cannot swim or go outside without a shirt on.
The boy’s mother has spoken out to warn others of the craze, ‘I just really want parents to be aware that a lot of kids are doing this. They think it’s not their kid. They’re wrong.’
Officials at the West Penn Burn Center held a news conference after the incident to highlight the serious dangers of the game.
Dr Ariel Aballay described the injuries as similar to frostbite and warned the longer the ice was applied the more severe the injuries.
‘The longer, the more serious the injury. This patient went for a few minutes, but there have been cases that went for six or seven minutes that resulted in third-degree injuries.’
Doctors initially believed that the boy would be scarred for life but are now hopeful his back will eventually heal without leaving marks.
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