redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that some types of eye drops and nasal decongestant sprays could be seriously harmful to children if swallowed.
The offending over-the-counter health products can be poisonous if misused by young children, and can cause “serious health consequences” if they are consumed, FDA pharmacist Yelena Maslov said in a statement, according to CBS News writer Ryan Jaslow.
The federal agency said that it has received several reports of “serious health issues from kids who ingested products containing tetrahydrozoline, naphazoline and oxymetazoline,” Jaslow added. “Tetrahydrozoline is found in Visine Original, Walgreens Redness Reliever Advanced Eye Ophthalmic Solution and other products, while naphazoline is found in All Clear Ophthalmic Solution, Naphcon A Ophthalmic Solution and other products. Oxymetazoline is found in nasal spray brands including Afrin, Dristan and Sudafed sprays.”
In fact, Daniel J. DeNoon of WebMD Health News said that more than 4,500 children under the age of five had been injured by eyedrops between 1997 and 2009. During that same period, over 1,100 kids were injured by nasal sprays, according to statistics originating from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The medications, which DeNoon described as “surprisingly powerful,” can be consumed by children because they do not come in child-resistant packaging. The FDA told WebMD Health News that swallowing less than one-fifth of a teaspoon can cause serious harm to a child, including breathing issues, a decrease in heart rate, and a loss of consciousness. The CPSC said that symptoms can begin in as little as one hour.
A complete list of products that fall under the FDA’s warning can be found at the agency’s website
According to HealthDay News, earlier this year the CPSC proposed a rule requiring child-resistant packaging for any product containing at least 0.08 milligrams of an imidazoline derivative. The rule has not yet been approved, though, and officials are urging parents to call the toll-free Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 if they believe their children have accidentally ingested eye drops or nasal spray.
The agency says “parents should also practice safety when storing medications and potentially harmful substances,” Jaslow said. “Tips to reduce risk include storing medications in safe locations too high for children to reach, never leaving pills or vitamins out on counters, re-locking safety caps, not taking medication in front of children“¦ and reminding guests to put purses, bags or coats away and out of sight when visiting homes with children”