Food

Man rushed to ICU after eating world’s hottest pepper, racks up $300 in medical bills

So hot it hurts.

A country’s cuisine tells you a lot about its culture and is probably one of the most important dealbreakers in a travel experience.

Some like it hot

Source: China Press

This man in Thailand landed himself in hot soup when he decided to try the world’s hottest chili with his basil pork rice.

Biting into “the hottest pepper in the world” may sound excruciating enough. However, he added not one, but three Carolina Reapers and swallowed them all in one go.

Source: China Press

Moments after he swallowed his piquant mouthful, he knew something was wrong.

His body seemed to have an instant reaction to these infamous chilies because he developed severe abdominal pain that started growing hot. 

As reported by China Press, the man in question just simply loves to try new cuisines. Perhaps this time, he got more than he bargained for.

And it burns, burns, burns

Our man in question was immediately rushed to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the nearest hospital. By the time he reached, he was already sweating profusely and was unable to walk so he was brought in on a stretcher.

Source: See Hua

He allegedly started retching uncontrollably but hospital staff in attendance could only administer antacids in the hopes that it would assuage the hellfire raging in the pits of his stomach.

After an hour (or what felt like a millennium), the pain finally relented, and he was discharged.

In total, he paid about 7,300 baht (S$ 315) in medical bills for his short stint to the ICU. A small price to pay for a close call.

Hotter than the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T”

Source: Shutterstock


The Carolina Reaper or the HP22B, has held its title as the hottest chili pepper in the world since 2013, surpassing the previous record holder— the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T”.

According to a report published in April 2018, eating a Carolina Reaper can and will most likely result in “thunderclap” headaches which are so bad, they’re comparable to a flash-bang grenade going off in your head.

The paper reports,

The Carolina Reaper has a “heat” of about 1.5 million Scoville units, according to Guinness World Records; for comparison, a jalapeño comes in at around 5,000.

– Boddhula et. al. 2018

Symptoms of thunderclap headaches are dry heaving, intense pain in the back of the neck and head and several episodes of brief but excruciating migraines that strike suddenly, and peak within 60 seconds — over the course of a few days or weeks.

In the study, the 34-year-old man’s ordeal was similar, where the pain was so unbearable it forced him into the emergency room.

What’s worse, a CT scan revealed that these 60-second flash-bangs were a result of reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) where a person’s brain arteries temporarily narrow for days or even weeks.

Adverse symptoms such as this are also seen in some prescription medication, but also in illegal substances such as cocaine or ecstasy. What a party. 

This is the first time RCVS has been linked to eating a chili pepper.

According to the attending physician in the 2018 report above,

“We would recommend the general public be cautious about these adverse effects and seek medical attention immediately if they develop sudden headaches after eating hot peppers,”

– Dr. Kulothungan Gunasekaran, internal medicine physician at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit.

The next time you see a pepper that is “red and gnarled, with a small pointed tail”, be warned to proceed with utmost caution.

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