What to do, and not to do, when you eat a hot pepper

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There are all kinds of hot food competitions and challenges out there

From festivals to on-line matches and spicy food shows. Episodes of the “Hot Ones” on YouTube are easily entertaining, especially if you’re not the one in the hot seat taking the spicy challenge. People are even uploading their own pepper mishaps on TikTok, such is the case of one young boy from North Carolina. In the widely viewed clip, the boy takes a big bite out of a green chili pepper, only to break out in tears and ask his dad to call 911. According to the dad, he’s now fine and ready to take on the “next challenge”.

Anyone who’s ever bitten into a super-hot pepper, though, can probably sympathize with the child.

Some peppers are so hot they can actually make you start sweating and even tear up. It’s always good to know what type of pepper it is before you take that first bite. If you know this, you can check the Scoville Scale to get an idea of how hot it is beforehand. Unlike the young boy in the video, you don’t want to try and cool off with a big cup of water. Unfortunately, water usually just makes it worse. The same goes for taking a drink of alcohol. Instead, many experts recommend having a glass of milk on hand.

Milk contains casein, which helps break down the capsaicin, which is of course the hot part of peppers.

Similarly to how soap washes grease away, casein helps wash away capsaicin molecules, and in turn, alleviates some of the burning sensation. If you don’t have any milk on hand, you can try using other dairy products like ice cream or sour cream. Although they don’t work as well as milk, sugar or bread may also help in a pinch.


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