Boy Suffers Near-Fatal Asthma Attack After Eating Trendy ‘Dragon’s Breath’ Dessert
In 2017, the dessert called “Dragon’s Breath” was banned from the Pensacola State Fair after a 14-year-old suffered a burn to her thumb. Less than a year later, another child has been injured by the trendy treat five hours east at a mall in Jacksonville, Florida. His mother is speaking out to warn other parents about the trendy treat’s potentially fatal effects.
Dragon’s Breath is as a cereal snack similar to Froot Loops that are dipped in liquid nitrogen. When consumed, a smoke-like substance billows from the nose and mouth. It may look cool, but the ingestion of liquid nitrogen could lead to severe internal damage.
Racheal McKenny took to Facebook on July 25 to share a cautionary tale about how her son, Johnny, nearly died after eating Dragon’s Breath at Avenues Mall. Johnny has asthma and uses a prescription inhaler, which McKenny normally keeps in her bag when the family is doing anything that involves a lot of physical exercise, “like walking the theme parks, riding our bikes, or going to the park,” she wrote.
Johnny also uses a nebulizer about two or three times a year. It helps to clear his lungs when he has a bad cold or upper respiratory infection. Needless to say, McKenny didn’t think she would need the inhaler or the nebulizer for a trip to the mall — but she was wrong. About 10 minutes into their 40-minute ride home — just after Johnny and his sister shared an order of Dragon’s Breath — he started choking up.
“About 10 minutes into the ride home, Johnny started an occasional cough. Around 20 minutes in, the cough became really consistent,” McKenny wrote on Facebook. “By the time we passed the Palencia sub division, he was coughing so bad that he was having trouble catching his breath. We knew he couldn’t breathe, and we knew that we couldn’t get him to the hospital in time.”
Luckily, her husband, John, knew there was a firehouse nearby. After the family stopped at the station, EMTs started working on Johnny. They gave him albuterol (a drug that helps with asthma symptoms) via nebulizer and hooked him up to an IV. Johnny was loaded into an ambulance, where he was given a shot of epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) to help open his airways.
Prior to reaching the hospital, McKenny says Johnny had a second breathing treatment and a steroid. He was evaluated and sent home with a few days worth of steroids and will use his nebulizer as needed, but is doing well.
“PLEASE, if you know someone that has even just a mild case of asthma, do NOT let them have this snack,” McKenny wrote on Facebook. “I should have known better, but it did not occur to me that this food could have this effect. As a result, my son could have died. Please don’t make the same mistake I did.”
The mother of two shared the scary experience in hope of preventing it from happening to those who read her message, and, of course, to recognize the heroes at St. John’s County Fire Rescue Station #12 for saving her son’s life. Dragon’s Breath may be fun to eat, but does a few minutes of faux smoke outweigh the potential health risks? Find joy in these all-time craziest state fair foods instead.