"Throwing caution to the wind" is a well-known idiom. Throwing boiling hot water to the wind is idiotic.
Nevertheless, the polar vortex has prompted a number of people to do both at the same time. The polar vortex is not polar bears in a washing machine but a meteorological phenomenon. Basically, the vortex has been an expanding low-pressure area around the North Pole that has pushed cold air southward to cover much of the U.S. with frigid temperatures last week. For example, temperatures in Chicago fell to 21 degrees below Fahrenheit. Temperatures in Minnesota dropped to "holy hannah" levels. This deep freeze also seemed to lead to some brain freeze and the new "boiling water challenge," not to be confused with the "hot water challenge" which involves dumping boiling hot water on someone as a prank.
You have to figure that connecting the words "boiling water" and social media challenge can't be good. In this case, people are taking pots or cups of boiling water and launching the water into the cold, cold air. The result can be a spectacular frosty mist. But as Tinder will teach you, just because something looks good doesn't mean that it is safe. There are three problems with throwing boiling water into the air: wind, gravity, and, oh, the boiling hot water. As this CBS Chicago news segment shows, this boiling water challenge has landed at least 8 people in the emergency room at the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois:
Oh, the segment also shows that stupidity and boiling water tossed in the air know no bounds. Not all of the victims were the ones launching the boiling water into the air. Innocent bystanders can be at risk too. That's because winds can be quite unpredictable. Also, a pot or a cup isn't exactly precision launching devices. That's why pot throwing is not an Olympic event. Plus, lots of sloshing and spillage can occur. Even if you think you have Green Arrow like aim, a toss of hot water can easily end up back in your face or in others' faces.
If you don't know what scalding hot water can do to your skin, eyes, nose, respiratory tract, ears, mouth, and other exposed parts of your body, you should use birth control, always, for the rest of your life. Plus, don't go anywhere near the kitchen. Or the bathtub. Or the basement, near hot water heaters. Actually, just stay in your room and don't leave.
No matter how frigid the air may be, don't assume that it can cool off all the boiling hot water quickly enough. Unless you are Iron Man and wearing the suit, cover your eyes, nose, mouth, and any exposed skin when you encounter a boiling hot water mist.
Also, a lack of pain may be misleading. You may not always feel scald burns, especially if it is freezing outside. If there is any chance that you have been exposed to boiling hot water, check yourself. Look for any swelling, redness or unusually white areas, peeling, or blistering. If your skin is melting away, that's a bad sign. Be wary of any difficulty breathing, coughing, or chest pain as you may have inhaled hot water. A sore throat or difficulty swallowing could suggest that your throat or lower in your gastrointestinal tract has been affected.
If you do suffer a scald burn, immediately cool the area. Do not use ice or snow, as this may further damage the area. Don't use creams or butter, because you are not a Thanksgiving turkey. Instead, run cool or lukewarm water on the affected area for at least 20 minutes. Remove anything that may stick to or further damage the location. That includes clothing and bling. This is not the time to bedazzle yourself. Keep the affected body part clean, covered, and protected. Don't use anything that may stick, like duct tape.
Have a low threshold for seeking medical attention. Situations that call for further evaluation include burns that seem deeper than the outer layer of the skin, white or charred skin, burns affecting large areas, blistering, evidence of infection like persistent redness, fever, or chills, and signs of internal injury to your respiratory tract or throat. Also, seek medical attention if particularly sensitive areas like your eyes or genitals have been affected. If your genitals were somehow exposed and affected during the boiling water challenge, you are an idiot in many, many different ways.
There are steps that you take to avoid hot water scald injuries in general. First, carefully check the temperature of the water before you dip a body part into it or the temperature of a container of hot water before touching it. Second, use only containers that have proper insulation to hold hot water. Third, be careful around hot water. Playing rugby around boiling water is a bad idea. Finally, don't bleep throw bleeping hot water into the bleeping air. Oh, and keep those Tide Pods out of your mouth.