When your baby is suffering through teething, you want to help and relieve the pain, and many of us reach for the over the counter teething gels for relief. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning parents against using any teething products that contain benzocaine, a local anesthetic found in products such as Anbesol, Orajel, and Baby Orajel.
U.S. News Weekly reports that “the use of benzocaine gels and liquids to relieve gum and mouth pain can lead to a rare but potentially deadly condition called methemoglobinemia, in which the amount of oxygen carried through the bloodstream is greatly reduced.” And children under 2 years old are at particular risk.
This isn’t the first time the FDA has warned against these products. Since they first did back in 2006, 29 reports of benzocaine gel-related cases of methemoglobinemia have occurred.
The symptoms (which can occur minutes or hours after first use or after several uses) include pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips and nail beds, shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion, headache, light-headedness and rapid heart rate. Parents should call 911 if they notice these symptoms.
The FDA recommends that parents go about teething the old fashioned way- by offering a cool teething ring or even simply rubbing a baby’s swollen gums with your finger.
Do you use over the counter teething products? What is your best method for relieving teething pain?
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