An emergency response was initiated at a school in Ohio after around 40 children ingested Bhut Jolokia peppers – one of the hottest species in existence.
An unidentified student brought the peppers into Milton Union Middle School, West Milton, and apparently shared them among other students aged 11 to 14.
Police and emergency responders were contacted on Friday after the students began to exhibit symptoms such as blotchy skin, hives, sweating, watering eyes and general discomfort, the Dayton Daily News reported.
Five students had to be hospitalised.
The students “took these peppers voluntarily”, according to a police investigation.
“We all drank like 10 cartons of milk,” eighth grade student Cody Schmidt told the newspaper, adding that the pepper was “really hot”.
The school’s superintendent, Brad Ritchey, said: “The response of emergency services was amazing, deputies and help from surrounding paramedics.
“We really had a lot of help here this afternoon. This was serious but sometimes situations at schools become far more serious than this.”
School staff are now looking into whether to pursue disciplinary action.