Parents warned against potentially harmful ‘thickened water’ TikTok trend

TikTok is full of seemingly harmless trends, but some of them may have unintended consequences.

The “thickened water challenge” is spreading like wildfire amongst young people, but it could be hurting some. Here’s why parents should discourage their kids from hopping on the bizarre trend. 

What is the “thickened water challenge”? 

The craze requires purchasing a water thickening agent known as Thick-It. Basically, people try the thickened water and react to how unusual it is. It’s pretty pointless, but

Why you shouldn’t do the “thickened water challenge”

Thick-It exists as a real essential item for children, seniors and people with disabilities who cannot swallow liquids without choking. Water is necessary for human survival, so an alternative to the thinner form can help save lives. 

“Thickened liquids move more slowly than thin liquids,” Nationwide Children’s stated. “This gives […] extra time to control the liquid while swallowing and keep it out of the lungs. This helps protect the airway.”

However, with the trend going viral stores are selling out of Thick-It and during a pandemic no less when supply chains are riddled with delays and setbacks. 

Some TikTok users are pushing back against the “thickened water challenge.” 


I use this product every day for my patients and they would simply not be able to drink without it. #thickit #thickwater #thickchallenge #nurse #fyp

♬ original sound – _olivia_day

Olivia Day created a video to explain why participating in the challenge isn’t some joke. 

“This isn’t some weird little drink that you and your friends get to gag over for laughs. It is medical supplies for people with a condition called dysphagia,” Day said. 

People with dysphagia have trouble swallowing and can even experience asphyxiation if food or liquid gets trapped in the trachea instead of the esophagus. 

“I use this product every day for my patients and they would simply not be able to drink without it,” Day said in the caption. 

Another TikToker @iammrsnesbitt whose son uses Thick-It to get his daily nutrition asked other uses to stop the challenge.

She said stores like CVS, Walmart and pharmacies carry a limited stock because the product is expensive. The mom even suggested using gelatin as a thickening agent instead of people want to change the consistency of their water for fun. 

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