Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that is used to relieve pain.  It can be found in most drugstores, usually under the product names Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase.  Benzocaine has been associated with a rare but serious, and sometimes fatal, condition called Methemoglobinema, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced.  Because of the association, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that parents and caregivers not use Benzocaine products for children younger than 2, except under the advice of a health care professional.  Symptoms of Methemoglobinemia can occur minutes to hours after ingestion and include:

***shortness of breath


***pale, gray, or blue colored skin, lips, and nail beds

***headache, confusion, or rapid heart rate

If you suspect your child is suffering from Methemoglobinemia, take your child to the emergency room immediately.


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