Are you counting on a bolt of lightning in a can or another popular, highly advertised energy booster to get to get you through your Black Friday shopping frenzy this year? Be careful or the old adage “shop until you drop” may prove fateful. There seems to be no limit to the number of warnings about the dangers of energy drinks from the US Food and Drug Administration and other agencies interested in public safety.
Consider the latest story which appeared in the New York Times: the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported more than 13,000 emergency room visits associated with the consumption of energy drinks in 2009. One such product, 5 Hour Energy, has been possibly linked to an estimated 13 deaths over the past 4 years. According to the story, the popular energy drink has also been associated with potentially life threatening symptoms such as convulsions and heart attacks.
A major issue associated with over the counter energy supplements is the lack of regulations. Some are labeled as nutritional supplements while others are marketed as beverages. In addition to caffeine, there may be other stimulant-type ingredients included in the formulation. Excessive caffeine (and other stimulant) ingestions may lead to high blood pressure, nausea vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, insomnia, tremors, low blood potassium levels, and can cause severe heart arrhythmias.
So, what do we recommend to keep up with the frantic pace of holiday shopping this year? Try a few of those less harmful standbys like eating well, staying well hydrated, getting enough sleep, contorting yourself into a yoga pretzel pose or just take an invigorating short walk . If you need to, have just one cup of joe, steamy hot tea or an ice cold cola beverage to get you over the hump. If however, you choose to use an energy product, be sure to read the entire label carefully, do not exceed recommended amounts and heed all precautionary warnings. If you have any questions about safe use of energy boosters, feel free to call the Illinois Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222
By the way, you won’t catch any of us camping out in front of any big box stores at 3am on Black Friday, we’ll be here waiting to take your call!.
Wishing you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!!!!
Tony and Erin