What if I accidentally ingested a mouthful of super hot sauce? For example, let’s say I went to a Mexican restaurant and accidentally took the wrong salsa from the salsa bar, and I am normally accustomed to only the mildest salsa.
Is this something that could cause some sort of medical harm or would it just feel really awful for several minutes?
PS: I really don’t know where this thread belongs.
CS = Food related
IMHO = Medical opinion
GQ = Analysis of known risk
You’re not going to find super-hot sauce in the salsa bar of a Mexican restaurant. The really hot sauces aren’t served in salsa bars. They’re sold in bottles and clearly marked. Unless you are in the habit of swigging down entire mouthfuls from bottles of sauces, you’re not going to get a mouthful of super-hot sauce. The most you might do is put some moderately hot salsa from the salsa bar on your food and notice how hot it is at first bite. I can’t imagine any situation except blatantly stupid showing-off in which someone could consume so much hot sauce that it would harm them.
But the “burning” is purely a physiological sensation, isn’t it? Capsaicin triggers the nerves to fire and signal pain, but it doesn’t actually damage the tissue like real heat does. So, although unpleasant, it wouldn’t actually do any real “harm” in the long term, would it?
With enough (depending on your reaction) you might have your nasal membranes and throat swell up enough to close off so that might be a problem for some people, but, on the other hand , they can also act as decongestant of sorts for some people.
Extremely high concentrations of capsaicin such as are seen in the fortified hot sauces (“Pepper extract” added) and prescription capsaicin creams (for neuralgia) can cause damage to susceptible tissue, such as corneas and nerves.
For some reason, I saw a couple of Youtube clips of young fools downing shots of extreme hot sauce. I’d have to say that vomiting will damage the enamel of your teeth if you don’t rinse your mouth quickly. Any vomiting will do it, the hot sauce itself won’t hurt your teeth.
My mother got a massive blister on her mouth/lip from eating a peppered carrot slice so you certainly can physically harm yourself from your inadvertant hot sauce slip. A blister probably won’t kill you, barring an unfortunate post-blister infection, but they suck for sure.
I asked a similar question about damage to taste buds, but the answer that I walked away with was that it would temporarily numb the nerves, and cause no lasting damage. But this was about chronic low to moderate orally administered doses.