• St. Augustine mom warns of ‘Dragon's Breath' snack after son rushed to hospital

    By: Brittney Donovan , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    A St. Augustine mom said what looked like a fun and harmless treat sent her child to the hospital. 

    Dragon's Breath, a cereal-like treat, is sold at The Avenues Mall in Jacksonville.

    It’s coated in liquid nitrogen, which makes it look like you're breathing smoke out of your mouth and nose after eating it.

    Racheal Richard Mckenny said her son has very mild asthma.

    She says he started having trouble breathing on the way home from the mall, shortly after eating the snack.

    “Around 20 minutes in, the cough became really consistent. By the time we passed the Palencia subdivision, he was coughing so bad that he was having trouble catching his breath,” she said on Facebook. “We knew he couldn’t breathe, and we knew that we couldn’t get him to the hospital in time.”

    Mckenny said they quickly pulled into a fire station, where EMTs immediately started Johnny on an albuterol treatment and hooked him up to an IV while preparing him for transport. 

    “The nebulizer was not improving his breathing at all and, by the time they got him loaded into the ambulance, he needed a shot of epinephrine,” she said. “Johnny had a second breathing treatment and steroid on the way to the hospital.”

    Dr. Sunil Joshi of Family Allergy Asthma Consultants in Jacksonville said even people who don’t have asthma could have side effects from the nitrogen in the treat.

    “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,” he said.

    He also said the nitrogen can cause serious burns if it comes into contact with your skin. 

    Dragon’s Breath sold by a different vendor made headlines in October when a 14-year-old girl was severely burned at a fair.

    A county in New York has also moved to ban the treats.

    A manager of the kiosk at the mall in Jacksonville said a notice at the cash register was updated to include an allergy and asthma warning after Johnny’s reaction.

    He said the business believes it was an isolated incident and that several customers with asthma who ate Dragon’s Breath did not have a reaction.

    McKenny posted a warning on Facebook, saying she hopes sharing Johnny’s experience prevents this from happening to any other family.

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