Why eye drops are harmful to kids
HOUSTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns the public about kids coming in contact with some key ingredients in eye drops and nose sprays. Since the key ingredients in both products work to compress blood vessels, it could pose a severe threat to small children.
The FDA said children under five are at risk for severe health complications from accidentally ingesting eye drops or nasal sprays. The over-the-counter medications contain ingredients: tetrahydrozoline, oxymetazoline, or naphazoline, which can be in many generic and brand name products.
The FDA claims there have not been any deaths among kids; however, serious events requiring hospitalization have occurred with a dose tinier than a teaspoon.
“When the medication is put in your eye, it makes the eyes less red because it makes the blood vessels become smaller but when you drink the medication it can affect your heart rate, your breathing, sometimes your consciousness, your behavior,” said Dr. Kimberly Yen, Texas Children's Hospital pediatric ophthalmologist. “The smaller the patient, so children have a much smaller mass, much smaller weight, then when they drink the drop they’re getting a much higher amount and their body.”
Yen said the same warning applies for pets. She said since these products do not come with child-proof packaging, you need to be extra cautious about keeping these in purses, on tables, or anywhere within reach.
The FDA has a list of specific brands that are harmful to children on the FDA website.
If a child accidentally swallows these eye drops or nasal decongestant spray, call the toll-free poison help line at 1-800-222-1222 and seek emergency medical care immediately.
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