Experts warn of a new, bizarre internet entry that can be life-threatening if done incorrectly. It is about the so-called Vacuum Challenge in which people sit in a large garbage bag from which all air is extracted with a strong vacuum cleaner.
The effect and appearance of vacuum-drawn adults and children are ridiculous. But if things go wrong by accident, the joke can lead to brain damage due to oxygen deficiency and even death.
Since a few weeks, social media such as Instagram have been flooded with videos and photos that, including the hashtag #vacuumchallenge, show how ‘victims’ are trapped in super- tight plastic casings.
Many people think hilarious, but it can also turn out wrong. The challenge is not recommended on multiple sites and also on some videos. There is especially a warning about pinching the neck too long. This can hinder the blood flow to the head. Another danger: once you are in a state of vacuum, you can no longer move and therefore fall ugly.
Where the Vacuum Challenge suddenly comes from is not entirely clear. There is a suspicion that the craze is based on so-called vacuum beds that are sometimes used by bondage and SM enthusiasts.
These are latex beds in which people lie down with their entire body including their head. Then with a strong pump, the air is taken out of the bed and the user only breathes through a small pipe. The feeling – being unable to do anything more – would be exciting. So apparently ‘nice’ to try by lay people.
On social media, incidentally, the brand new hype is not only disapproving and warning. There are also people who see the fun of it and announce that they will give it a try. “Never knew that a gray garbage bag can be so kinky,” someone writes on Twitter.