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Ice Bucket Challenge takers could ‘kick the bucket,’ Vietnam doctors warn

The viral fundraising effort Ice Bucket Challenge has raised a few eyebrows among doctors in Vietnam, who say the challenge is medically dangerous to its performers.

The viral fundraising effort Ice Bucket Challenge has raised a few eyebrows among doctors in Vietnam, who say the challenge is medically dangerous to its performers.
The viral fundraising effort Ice Bucket Challenge has raised a few eyebrows among doctors in Vietnam, who say the challenge is medically dangerous to its performers.

As more and more Vietnamese are getting to drench themselves to take part in the global fad, several health experts warn that Ice Bucket Challenge participants could even ‘kick the bucket’ if they take on the challenge without checking their health conditions.

“Think before you take up the challenge as it has certain effects on your health,” Duong Duc Hung, a doctor at Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital, said.

As the normal body temperature measures 37°C, sousing the body with ice and cold water will cause sudden vasoconstriction, or the narrowing of blood vessels, Dr. Hung said.

“This can lead to strokes or other disorders,” he warned.

Sudden body temperature changes, be it too cold or too hot, can also increase blood pressure, the doctor added.

“You may easily catch a cold when stepping into hot weather from an air-conditioned room. Now you get to pour a bucket of ice water onto your head, a sensitive body part that needs the most protection. This can easily lead to unexpected consequences,” Dr. Hung said.

Although the Ice Bucket Challenge is going viral globally, the doctor said “people with high or low blood pressure should not follow the trend.”

Doctor Tran Ngoc Luu Phuong, who teaches at Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine in Ho Chi Minh City, also warned the challenge takers of the risks of getting their body into a sudden cold.

“The sudden cold will affect your temperature regulation system as well as the vasomotor center, which regulates blood pressure and other homeostatic processes in your brain,” she said.

The doctor advised that people get themselves wet before pouring the ice bucket to avoid cold shock. Upon finishing the challenge, they should warm their bodies immediately, Dr. Phuong added.

“People with heart diseases and the elderly should not take the challenge,” she concluded.

The list of Vietnamese celebrities and high-profile figures tackling the challenge, aimed at raising donations for the ALS Association, which combats amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, continues to lengthen.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a ‘rapidly progressive’ and fatal neurological disease that attacks nerve cells called motor neurons that control voluntary muscles in the body, such as in the arms, legs, and face.

Among the latest Vietnamese participants are pop stars Dam Vinh Hung and Ho Ngoc Ha, who doused themselves after shooting an episode of music competition The X Factor Vietnam, in which they act as judges, on Sunday.

Donations from the Ice Bucket Challenge are pouring in at an astounding rate, topping US$88.5 million as of Tuesday, according toThe Huffington Post.