Read This Before Participating In A Hot Pepper Eating Contest

For people who love a little extra heat in their life (or rather, in their meals), there's no shortage of spicy foods out there. Besides the obvious (i.e. the thousands of hot sauce varieties you can find on the shelves at the grocery store), there are hotter, spicier versions of almost all of your favorite things: Spicy McNuggets, Flamin' Hot Cheetos, the Fiery Doritos Locos Taco, etc. If you're someone who likes the kind of burning-in-your-eyes, so-hot-you-need-a-glass-of-milk spice, however, nothing beats the infamous Carolina Reaper pepper.

At two million Scoville heat units (the scale used to measure a pepper's spice), it's one of the hottest peppers in the world. If you watched any of the Carolina Reaper challenge videos on YouTube that popped up over the last year, you know just how painful biting into one of those babies can be. But that hasn't stopped some brave eaters from participating in hot pepper eating competitions. However, that can actually be dangerous — here's why. 

You could end up in the hospital by participating in a hot pepper competition

It may not come as a huge surprise that shoving fiery hot peppers into your mouth at an alarming rate can have some serious consequences. But just how bad are we talking? Pretty bad, according to competitive eater Wayne Algenio who set the world record when he ate 22 Carolina Reaper chili peppers in less than a minute. "Once I stopped eating, a horrible burning in my throat started," he said in an interview with the New York Post. "I started screaming because it helped alleviate the pain in my throat. Then the stomach cramps started kicking in."

Algenio's reaction wasn't the worst of it, either. One study reports that a man who participated in a Carolina Reaper eating challenge was rushed to the emergency room for excruciating "thunderclap headaches" and dry heaving. Vice also cautions that some people who ate the hot peppers on YouTube faced severe vomiting and one girl even had to go on oxygen when the pepper triggered an asthma attack. So before you sign up to test your spice tolerance, just know these peppers aren't like anything you're probably used to.