Viral sensation or abomination? – Alameda Post

“Sleepy Chicken”, you’ve never heard of it? Neither did I until the other night when I saw multiple reports that this was the latest TikTok trend. The FDA has issued a warning against this “viral sensation” of cooking chicken at NyQuil.

It’s not fiction. It’s such a ridiculous thing to do that my brain wouldn’t have been able to conjure it up even though I was in a delirious state fresh out of general anesthesia. However, this brings up an important point. Medicines should be stored and used as directed, including maintaining an appropriate temperature. Failure to do so can cause serious problems.

Alameda Post - an outdoor thermometer on a tree trunk

‘Sleeping chicken’ puts drugs at dangerous temperatures

“The risks are great if a drug is compromised by exposure to temperatures beyond its safe range,” said a Pharmacy hours warned article. “The loss of effectiveness can lead to many problems that compromise the health of the patient. With some drugs, the stakes are even higher. If epinephrine, for example, is exposed to repetitive heating and cooling, it can lose 64% of its effectiveness. If a compromised dose of epinephrine is used to treat a patient suffering from a severe anaphylactic reaction, it may not work as intended, resulting in possible death.

Alameda Post - a medicine cabinet.  Will the teens try the sleepy chicken if they find the nyquil?

Not that I expect any of you to cook tonight’s meal with pink over-the-counter drugs to reduce (cue music) nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, dia-okay, you know where I was going with this. I know you wouldn’t do this, but less intentional actions could affect your medications as well. For example, can I suggest that if you’re running errands and one of them picks up medicine from the pharmacy that needs to be kept in the fridge, that that’s the last errand on your list? Inconvenient? Plan ahead and pack a small cooler with an ice pack.

Even medications that do not require refrigeration require special attention to temperature. Most over-the-counter medications are stable and meant to be best stored at “controlled room temperature” which, according to the United States Pharmacopeia standard, is between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Your medicine could likely be compromised at temperatures above 86 degrees.

Compromise how? There is potential decomposition resulting in lower potency, but may also result in other effects. If the recommended temperature of your medicine has been compromised, consult your doctor or pharmacist to find out if it should be discarded and replaced.

Proper Medication Storage Tips

Here are some additional tips for keeping your medications working. Do not store medications in your car for long periods of time, especially in hot weather. It is best not to put your medication in the trunk of your car during transport. When traveling, do not pack your medications in your checked baggage as they may sit on the hot tarmac for long periods of time while waiting to be loaded onto the plane. Even airport waiting areas or the belly of the plane can get extremely hot. This is also true when traveling by bus. For added safety, it is best to store medications in their original containers and keep the containers together.

Social media brings the absurd and often dangerous to life. Remember when people were taking up time and space in emergency rooms due to swallowing Tide pods? My eldest son, who is a teenager, said, “These stupid tendencies make Americans look like idiots.

Score one for my boy.

Contributing writer Denise Lum is a health and fitness coach raising her family in Alameda. Contact her via [email protected] or Her writings are collected at

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