The Food and Drug Administration is warning the public that young children can become seriously ill if they swallow over-the-counter eye drops and nasal decongestant sprays.
There are cases in which children age 5 and younger have been hospitalized after ingesting these products, a small amount of which could make them very sick.
The products are sold under various brand names, such as Visine, Dristan and Mucinex, as well as in generic and store brands.
Risk: These products are safe when used in the eyes and nose as directed. However, when swallowed, their active ingredients—tetrahydrozoline, oxymetazoline, or naphazoline—can have effects that include nausea, lethargy, decreased respiration and even a coma. No deaths have been reported.
Most of these redness-relief eye drops and nasal decongestant sprays are not packaged with child-resistant closures.
- Consumers should store these products out of reach of children at all times.
- If a child accidentally swallows OTC redness-relief eye drops or nasal decongestant spray, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately. Experts are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at these centers.
Editor's Note: Information courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.