Eye Drop Danger

The FDA recently issued an alert pertaining to over-the-counter eye drops and nasal decongestants. The alert is a warning that accidental ingestion of some ingredients in these products by young children can cause serious and potentially life-threatening consequences.

A real danger that's hidden

The reason why this warning is so important is this: Ingestion of as little as 1 milliliter to 2 milliliters of these medicines (less than 1/2 of a teaspoon!) can cause serious symptoms.

Plus, these products are readily available in grocery and drug stores, and they frequently do not have child-proof caps, making them easily opened if found by children. Keep them locked up or up high. (I’ve frequently carried them in my purse, which my kids love to explore!) The active ingredients found by the FDA to be dangerous to children under age 5 years are tetrahydrozoline, oxymetazoline, and naphazoline.


No deaths have been reported but hospitalization was required with some children. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, lethargy, changes in heart rate—either too slow or too fast—changes in blood pressure, decreased breathing, stupor, hypothermia, drooling, and coma.

And, as I noted above, these medicines, which of course seem perfectly harmless to adults, can seriously endanger young children in doses of as little as 1/2 teaspoon.

So please keep these (and all) medicines out of reach of children, and see my previous blog on Poison Prevention for more tips.

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