Teenagers are setting themselves on fire in a desperate attempt to find fame on the internet, hospital staff have revealed.
The latest idiotic craze to sweep the internet- called the Fire Challenge – has seen teenagers film themselves dousing their bodies in accelerant and lighting it.
In Wales, more and more cases are being seen by medical experts after the craze which began in 2014 picked up again.
Specialist staff at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital have confirmed that they have seen a recent rise in the number of teenagers who are being admitted to hospital with serious burns.
While the hospital did not wish to provide details of the different challenges, a quick search online reveals the scale of the problem.
Youngsters are challenged to pour liquid on themselves and set themselves on fire in the latest insane ‘craze’.
This has resulted in people requiring surgery and life-support treatment.
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board is now issuing a warning and some advice to anyone who has taken part in any of these challenges online.
‘I can understand there is pressure on young people to gain acceptance or boost their online profiles by doing such risky things as these challenges,’ said Jeremy Yarrow, a plastic surgeon at Morriston Hospital.
‘But from the patients I see, the results can be very different, with some requiring life support treatment and many left with lifelong scars.’
Mr Yarrow added that, while most teenagers presenting with burns are treated as outpatients, some are hospitalised for a considerable length of time.
‘In some severe and sometimes life-threatening cases, they are admitted to hospital for long periods of time for complex surgery resulting in long term mental and physical issues,’ he said.
While the health board would not release specific details of the challenges doing the rounds online, they did confirm that there are ‘various’ ones being attempted by teenagers.
In August, a 12-year-old girl from Detroit burned 49 per cent of her body in the bizarre trend.
Timiyah Landers performed the challenge in front of two friends at her home in Detroit, Michigan, after her mother had made them pancakes.
Within minutes of her mother leaving the girls alone, there was a ‘loud explosion’ and Timiyah became engulfed in flames.
Her stepfather put her in the bath and immediately began spraying water on her body while her mother tore off her burning clothes.
Timiyah was put on a ventilator in intensive care and bandaged from head to her knees.
Ana Biney, a staff nurse at Morriston Hospital’s Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery, said: ‘They copy them from social media and YouTube and call them YouTube Challenges.
‘They film each other doing the challenges and then upload them in the hope they will become social media stars.
‘We have definitely seen an increase in the number of teenagers who have suffered quite serious burns because of this.’
Ms Biney added: ‘Good first aid is essential. If you do it right, it
can have a massive effect on the burn.
‘But of course the best thing to do is not to take part in these
stunts in the first place. They may look exciting and spectacular on
social media but the reality is very different.
‘They could be killed or scarred for life.’