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Snorting smarties: Candy-sniffing kids warned of infection, nasal maggots

No, snorting Smarties is not just something that Sheldon Cooper and his buddies -- of CBS' hit series "The Big Bang Theory" -- do with derision when someone with a lower IQ makes a simple mistake with regard to a scientific principle, although it could be argued that snorting Smarties might have something to do with a lower intellectual level, albeit even levels arrived at only momentarily. Because, strange as it may seem, snorting Smarties, the strange act of inhaling through the nose the crushed up powder of the popular Smarties candy, is a thing now. A fad. Something the kids are doing. And something causing considerable concern among school officials who have sent a warning message to parents about the serious consequences of snorting the candy, like the potential for allergies, lung infections, and even the possibility of nasal maggots.

WebProNews reported Jan. 21 that the dangerous trend of snorting smarties has become so prevalent, especially among middle schoolers and young students, that one Rhode Island school sent a warning email to parents giving them a heads-up on the activity and the possible health repercussions. Kids snorting the crushed candy are in danger of contracting lung infections, getting bloody noses, nasal scarring, and even succumbing to allergic reactions. If those weren't bad enough, snorting Smarties could lead to nasal maggots.

That is correct: Nasal maggots.

And the strangest thing of all about the dangerous Smarties snorting trend? The stuff doesn't even get you high, so, except to emulate dozens of people who have posted videos of themselves and others snorting the popular Halloween candy (possibly in efforts to mimic the snorting of cocaine), experts are at a loss as to why the activity is trending. There have been outbreaks of the trend since 2007 or so, primarily fueled by YouTube videos, but school officials think that it just might be getting a bit out of hand.

Recent incidents include: Fifteen students at Frontier Middle School in Hamburg, New York, were caught were caught in the act of inhaling the crushed-up candy. In Atlanta, a 9-year-old boy was suspended from school for snorting Smarties.

Some kids, instead of snorting, choose to "smoke" the candy. This is not the traditional form of smoking, however, where the candy might be somehow lit afire and ingested. In this instance, the powdered candy is taken orally, then expelled throughout the nose.

As for how a kid snorting candy could end up with nasal maggots, a condition known as nasal myiasis. This occurs when the crushed candy stays lodged in the nasal cavity and begins to decay and rot, attracting flies into the nostril. Flies can enter and depart quickly, most likely when one sleeps, but long enough to lay eggs. Egg batches can contain as many as 75-150 eggs for a common housefly and hatch within a day of being deposited.

Parents are being warned to be on the lookout for excessive nose rubbing and scratching and even bloody noses, as these may indicate a nasal maggot infestation.

Suffice it to say, though, that if you catch your kids snorting Smarties or suffering from the aftereffects, they may not be part of the group that could one day snort in derision at someone's poor grasp of basic science.

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