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Why is cooking Chicken in NyQuil dangerous?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Sep 21, 2022.

Official answer


Cooking chicken with NyQuil or other cough and cold medication is dangerous and may even cause death. You may absorb the active ingredients when eating the chicken and if you have inhaled the vapors as it is cooking. The reason why cooking and eating chicken in NyQuil is unsafe is:

  • You may take a large amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it which can cause an accidental overdose.
  • Heating the cough mixture during cooking may change the quality of ingredients making it unsafe to swallow.
  • Inhaling the medicines vapors while it is boiling can damage the lungs and also risk high levels of the medicine entering your body.
  • If you are on other medications the cough mixture may cause potentially dangerous drug interactions.

There have been viral videos about NyQuil chicken on social media showing cooking chicken in NyQuil or other similar OTC cough and cold syrups, which are over-the-counter medications available without prescription. NyQuil comes as various forms and may contain a combination of some of these active ingredients:

What You Can Do to Protect Your Children

Try and educate your child about the dangers of misusing drugs and explain that some of the social media trends involving drugs can lead to real, sometimes irreversible damage and may even cause death. Your child may not realize that over the counter medicine can be just as dangerous as prescription medicines.

What if some has symptoms of overdose or drug misuse?

If you are worried that someone has taken too much medicine and have symptoms of hallucinations, can’t be awakened, is having a seizure or had a seizure, has trouble breathing, has collapsed, or is showing other signs of drug misuse, you should:

  • call 911 to get immediate medical attention.
  • Or contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222 or online.

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