A 34-year-old New York man was hospitalized after eating Carolina Reaper chili peppers, according to a report by USA Today. The man, previously healthy, developed thunderclap headaches after he ate the hottest peppers in the world in a contest.
The man went to an emergency room complaining of the headaches. Thunderclap headaches are potentially life-threatening. They can strike without warning and reach peak pain levels in 60 seconds.
Doctors at the Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., where the man was treated did not find any neurological issues at the time of admittance. There were no reports of slurred speech or impaired vision.
Doctors diagnosed the man with reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RVS). RVS is a condition that causes the brain to tighten when the blood vessels are supplying blood. While rare, RVS is typically thought to be caused by specific medication or illicit drugs.
The incident was reported in the BMJ Case Reports. This is the first report of thunderclap headaches from eating a chili pepper.
The man did recover from the incident and showed no further symptoms of RVS after five weeks. The Carolina Reaper was declared the hottest chili pepper in the world by Guinness World Records in 2017.