Doctors warn about caffeine intake after S.C. teen dies

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s something many of us consume on a daily basis without even thinking about it.

After a South Carolina teen dies from a caffeine overdose, the question arises how much is too much caffeine?

Doctor William Meggs of Vidant said the effects of caffeine shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Dr. Meggs said, “Caffeine is definitely a drug. A cup of coffee or an energy drink is a drug delivery system. It’s easy to overdose yourself and in over dose it can cause seizures it can cause cardiac malfunction and it can cause sudden death.”

Dr. Meggs said it’s hard to know at what point a caffeine overdose happens.

“People who drink caffeine all day long develop a tolerance and they can take more,” he said.

Different bodies respond different ways.

Dr. Meggs said, “It’s similar to alcohol in that a person who has never had much alcohol can drink one beer and not be able to drive and then we have people who drink twelve beers a day and they’re walking around.”

Caffeine can be found naturally in things like coffee beans or tea leaves.

It can also be produced for things such as energy drinks.

“They have huge amounts of caffeine,” said Dr. Meggs. “I mean one energy drink might have as much caffeine as 5-10 cups of coffee.”

The energy drinks are often branded toward outdoor sport enthusiasts.

Charly Tanner is a student at East Carolina University.

Tanner said, “I don’t really drink anything unless I have too. For example, I’m a student at ECU and so if somehow I have to pull an all-nighter for studying or something, then I’ll drink some caffeine.”

Tanner said there’s a time and place for caffeine but its effects often hinder them during physical activity.

Dr. Meggs has rules for parents.

“A general guideline is children shouldn’t have caffeine just like we think children shouldn’t have alcohol and children shouldn’t have nicotine.”

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