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Caffeinated Chewing Gum Presents a Health Risk for Teens

Doctors in Italy have issued a warning about of the risks of teens consuming caffeinated chewing gum. The warning was prompted after a 13-year-old boy was hospitalized with caffeine intoxication after chewing two packs of stimulant gum. The packs contained around 320 milligrams of caffeine which he ingested within a four-hour period. The boy’s parents noticed that he was acting aggressive and agitated. He also complained of abdominal cramps, increased and painful urination, and prickling sensations in his legs. When doctors examined the boy, they found that his heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure were irregular.

The boy, who was medically monitored periodically, showed side effects following the use of the gum. He experienced sinus bradycardia, low left-ventricular ejection fraction, and was sleepy and sluggish for days.

It is unclear what type of gum the boy used, however there are a variety of brands offered including Jolt, Kickbrix, Penguin, and Blitz which contain caffeine. These gums compete with energy drinks and shots that are available for purchase regardless of age.

It is important for parents to remember that experts recommend that teens not consume caffeinated products after noon, and sleep at least nine hours a night. Since teens often stay up late using the internet, or texting, use of caffeinated products become more tempting to them. While teen’s body clocks may force them to stay up somewhat later than adults, and wake up later too, it’s still important for adults to convey the message that nighttime is the time to start slowing down.

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