The viral condom-snorting challenge is a dangerous idea — here's why you should never put a condom up your nose

  • The condom challenge is a dangerous, years-old dare that involves sticking an unwrapped condom up one nostril and inhaling until it (hopefully) re-emerges into a person's mouth.
  • It's a super-dangerous idea. Not only is it an immediate choking hazard, but condoms can also get stuck and cause more long-term damage.
  • One woman who accidentally inhaled a condom and got it stuck inside her suffered through six months with a nasty, mucous-heavy cough and fever until doctors realized that the condom was trapped in her lung.  


The condom challenge is no way to treat your nose. Or your lungs and throat, for that matter.

The years-old dangerous dare has resurfaced in recent days as the latest perverse, potentially life-threatening internet challenge. People attempting the condom-snorting challenge try to shove and inhale an unwrapped condom into one nostril, and then pull it back out through their mouth. 

Your nasal passage is indeed connected to the back of your throat, but you really don't need to prove it with a piece of plastic.

The party trick could cause you to choke on the spot. But it has other, potentially more long-term consequences, too.  

Your nose is designed to be the body's air filter, cleaning the air you take in before it lands in the lungs, and adding moisture to it along the way. It's a delicate system that's not designed to take in condoms. 

In 2004, doctors in India documented a case of a 27-year-old woman who accidentally inhaled a condom through her nose, didn't get it out, and wound up with a partially collapsed lung as a result. She spent six months with a fever and a cough before doctors finally surgically removed the condom.  

If you're not a trained professional, trying to pull anything out of your nose is a bad idea. One 2016 Nigerian study pointed out that 62% of complications that developed from people trying to pulling things out of their noses were the result of untrained professionals doing the job. 

Even in a best-case scenario where someone ingests a condom and then manages to pull it out of their mouth without choking, getting it stuck, or accidentally swallowing the roughly seven-and-a-half inch piece of plastic, it's not a harmless prank. The person may also be swallowing some extra chemicals, too. Condoms that aren't designed for oral sex can have lubricants on the outside that aren't meant to be ingested in large doses.

The condom challenge is just the latest in a string of dangerous viral challenges that can quickly gain steam on the internet, from swallowing laundry pods, to sticking a ton of cinnamon in your mouth (and potentially choking on that).

The condom-snorting challenge isn't even the only condom-related dare to gain traction. In 2015, a different condom challenge took off on the internet, as people tried to break water-filled condoms over others' heads, the New York Daily News reported. YouTube is trying to pull any condom-snorting videos from its site in order to discourage the potentially choke-inducing trend, CBS4 reports

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