Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The internet has come up with some bizarre trends, but the NyQuil “sleepy chicken” craze has to be the most outlandish one I’ve heard of in a long time. Yeah, you heard me right — NyQuil chicken. It sounds weird because it is! Not gonna lie, the name sounds like a bad attempt at a new NyQuil flavor promotion… gross.

The NyQuil chicken challenge went viral on TikTok when a user claimed he was going to “season” and cook his wife some chicken with some NyQuil after she began feeling a little sick. The original video cannot even be accessed as TikTok has issued a warning when I tried to search “original NyQuil chicken video.” The warning reads out, “Your safety matters” followed by a short blurb that brings awareness to the danger that some online challenges evoke, accompanied by a resource page.

However, screen grabs and clips of other TikTok users reacting to the original video are still on the platform. The original video showcases the user pouring out some of the green-blue liquid over a pan of two chicken breasts. While cooking, he even addresses a huge red flag, saying, “Sometimes the steam really makes you sleepy.” 

TikTok users have latched on to the “sleepy chicken” trend, of course. From countless reaction videos and memes discouraging anyone to actually indulge in the trend, the trend has seemingly caused mass hysteria, leading to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue their own warning statement.

The FDA started by describing the risks that come up with varying social media trends created by unequipped individuals. These trends, ultimately, end up targeting youth and can lead to death like many other trendy challenges have in the past (remember Tide Pods?). The FDA also addressed the risks associated with boiling over-the-counter medications like NyQuil, which is composed of acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine.

Via their official statement, the FDA noted, “The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing — and it is. But it could also be very unsafe. Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways. Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs. Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it.”

TikTok can be a weird place, but this NyQuil chicken fad has taken it to an all-new level. So, let’s steer clear of using OTC drugs to season or cook our food in, alright? 

McKinley Franklin is a writer and recent college graduate from East Carolina University. She was Her Campus' fall 2022 entertainment and culture intern and is a current national writer. McKinley specializes in entertainment coverage, though her favorite niche of the industry is reality television.