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Boy Has Severe Asthma Attack After Eating 'Dragon's Breath' Candy at a Mall

A mom whose 7-year-old son had an asthma attack after eating candy from a mall kiosk is warning other parents about the dangers of the treat.

Racheal Richard McKenny of St. Augustine, Florida, posted on Facebook that her son Johnny had a terrifying reaction to “Dragon’s Breath” — a liquid nitrogen-coated cereal-like candy that makes smoke come out of a user’s nose and mouth — after trying it last week at The Avenues mall in Jacksonville, Florida.

In the post, McKenny said Johnny, who has asthma, started coughing 10 minutes into the family’s 40-minute drive home.

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“Around 20 minutes in, the cough became really consistent,” McKenny wrote. “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.”

The McKennys found a fire station, where the firefighters gave Johnny albuterol, an IV and an epinephrine injection before taking him to the hospital. Johnny is now recovering at home.


“With liquid nitrogen, you are putting a burst of really cold gas into your mouth,” says PEOPLE Health Squad’s Pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth Murray. “In general, a sudden exposure to very cold (or sometimes very hot) air can trigger a person to wheeze. Anyone with asthma will always be better off avoiding any type of smoke and very cold or very hot air.”

“Even if you don’t have asthma it can be very, very inflammatory or irritating to the airway and your esophagus and your stomach, all of that,” said Dr. Sunil Joshi of Family Allergy Asthma Consultants to local news station FOX30.

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McKenny knows her family was lucky, but issued this warning to other parents: “PLEASE, if you know someone that has even just a mild case of asthma, do NOT let them have this snack. 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.”

According to CBS47 and FOX30, the manager of the kiosk put up a sign that warns asthma and allergy sufferers about the candy in the aftermath of Johnny’s reaction.

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