Experts warn about the dangers of caffeine after SC teen’s death

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — After a Richland County teenager’s death was linked to caffeine use, many are wondering: how much is too much? Christina DeRienzo with the Palmetto Poison Center was on News13 Now Wednesday to talk about the dangers and risks associated with consuming too much caffeine, as well as how to address the issue with your children.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that adults consume no more than 400mg of caffeine per day, which averages to approximately 4-5 cups of coffee. While the FDA doesn’t list recommendations for caffeine use in children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and adolescents consume no caffeine. 

Consuming large amounts of caffeine can cause heart related problems including increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and irregular heart rhythm. Additionally, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even death can occur. The average cup of coffee has around 100-150mg of caffeine. Energy drinks may contain up to 300mg of caffeine. Caffeine consumption in moderation is not generally expected to cause illness.  

Jill Michels, Director of the Palmetto Poison Center states, “While adults should be mindful of their caffeine consumption, it’s important for parents to know the risks of children and adolescents consuming caffeine. Take the time to talk with your children about the dangers of caffeinated drinks.”

The Palmetto Poison Center is staffed by trained nurses and pharmacists who can provide expert information for poison related emergencies and information.  The Center provides services to over 4 million residents in all 46 counties of South Carolina. Services are free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To contact the Palmetto Poison Center, call 1-800-222-1222. Please visit their website at poison.sc.edu for free materials or follow the center on Facebook “Palmetto Poison Center.”