Sports Cream Overdose

What is sports cream?

Sports creams are popular names for substances and ointments used by athletes to treat and soothe injuries; usually these creams are applied to aching muscles or areas that are painful or bruised.

Substances in sports creams

Commonly, sports creams contain salicylates, capsaicin substances and counterirritants. Salicylates have the same effect as over the counter pain relief medications and can ease pain and reduce swelling, while capsaicin creams produce hot, tingling sensations caused by the chilli content and counterirritants (most commonly menthol and eucalyptus) helps to ease pain and distract the athlete’s attention away from the original injury.

How does an overdose occur?

Overdoses can be accidental or intentional and occur when an athlete uses a higher dosage of sports cream than recommended. Creams should usually be applied to the skin; overdoses may occur when the cream is swallowed or applied to the eyes.

Effects and symptoms of a sports cream overdose

Symptoms will usually depend on the extent of the overdose and the substance involved. Some symptoms will be mild, while others may be severe and potentially very dangerous. The most common symptoms include dizziness, significantly slower or faster breathing rate, blurred vision, high temperature and nausea; more serious symptoms include fainting, inflammation of the throat and vomiting blood. Short-term effects will usually include dizziness, feeling weak and confusion, while long-term effects of a serious overdose may include kidney failure.

Treating a sports cream overdose

Serious cases will require hospital treatment; emergency help will be required if the athlete has collapsed or lost consciousness. If the cream has been swallowed, the athlete will be encouraged to drink plenty of water to try and flush the substances out of the system; if the athlete has consumed a lot of cream orally, it may be necessary for them to have a tube fitted to empty the stomach. The eyes should be rinsed thoroughly if creams come into contact with them. Treatment will be more effective if it is administered quickly.

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