Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month – The Dangers of Too Much Caffeine


SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- In today’s society, it seems like our to-do lists are always getting longer while our opportunities for sleep are getting shorter. How often do you hear, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my cup of coffee?” Caffeine has become a necessity to many, and possibly an addiction for others. In small doses, caffeine shouldn’t cause too much trouble, although it seems like every other week there’s a different opinion on that.

However, all studies agree that too much caffeine can lead to problems. Sometimes symptoms can be minor, such as restlessness, upset stomach, tremors, irritability and insomnia. Other times, more serious problems can occur. Younger people especially need to be made aware of these dangers.

As reported by NBC in May 2017, a teenager in South Carolina died from a caffeine overdose. Apparently, within the two hours prior to his death, he had consumed a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonalds and also some type of energy drink, which together caused a heart arrhythmia. Earlier this year, according to the article, “researchers reported that energy drinks can cause dangerous changes in heart function and blood pressure above and beyond caffeine alone. Another team found similar dangers in 2015.”

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As recommended by the Mayo Clinic, consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day. (One energy drink can have as much as 242 mg.) Of course, people with underlying health issues and/or taking certain medications or herbal supplements, pregnant women, and young children have to follow their doctor’s guidelines about what amount is safe. When cutting back on caffeine, do it slowly, if possible, to avoid the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. And remember, caffeine can be found in a large number of things, such as chocolate, tea, soda, pain relievers, and certain alcoholic drinks. So check the labels on what you’re ingesting, and keep your caffeine levels reasonable.

You can still have that cup of coffee with dinner, just switch to decaf.

The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed. Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green.

We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested in what we do. In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge. Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you AT (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies or Contributing Author: Susan Baldani, a life member of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad.

In 2017, The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad marks its 80th year of all volunteer emergency medical services to the community of Scotch Plains and surrounding communities, a distinction that very few rescue squads in the state have reached. 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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