Visine Poisoning: Shayne Carpenter Arrested; What Are Visine Poisoning Symptoms?
Visine poisoning caused a California woman to be hospitalized after her boyfriend put Visine eye drops in her drink.
ABC reports that 27-year-old Shayne Carpenter, a mechanic, was arrested by the Nevada County Sheriff's Office on March 7 in Grass Valley, California and was charged with domestic violence and poisoning his girlfriend. The girlfriend, whose name has not been released, became aware of Carpenter's actions after she discovered text messages on Carpenter's phone in which he bragged to friends about poisoning her with Visine eye drops. The popular "get the red out" eye drops caused the girlfriend to feel sick. She was treated at a hospital and made a full recovery.
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This isn't the first time a case of intentional Visine poisoning has made headlines. Just last year, ABC News reported on a 33-year-old Pennsylvania woman who was slapped with ten counts of aggravated assault and ten counts of reckless endangerment, among other charges, after she confessed to authorities that she put Visine eye drops into her boyfriend's drinking water multiple times over a three year period. Police said that the boyfriend, 45-year-old Thurman Edgar Nesbit III, had been experiencing nausea, vomiting, blood pressure problems and breathing problems for years. It was Nesbitt's doctor who reported to law enforcement that he had found traces of tetrahydrozoline, a chemical present in eye drops, in Nesbitt's blood.
Tetrahydrozoline is the ingredient in Visine that causes a person to become ill. It is found in many over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays, and its main purpose is the constriction of blood vessels. Poisoning happens when someone swallows this product, which is intended only for topical use.
In the 2005 film "Wedding Crashers", Owen Wilson's character, in an act of retribution, spikes Bradley Cooper's drink with Visine eye drops, causing Cooper's character to experience violent diarrhea. While this "prank" made for some good laughs for moviegoers, Visine poisoning is not a laughing matter. The same stunt pulled by Wilson's character landed one college student in jail back in 2011 for a "Wedding Crashers"-inspired "prank."
In real life, symptoms of Visine poisoning are much more severe. According to the National Institutes of Health, ingesting tetrahydrozoline can cause a number of adverse effects on a person's airways and lungs, eyes, skin, stomach, heart and nervous system. The person may have trouble breathing, or even stop breathing altogether. His vision can become blurred, and his fingernails and lips can turn blue. Visine poisoning can also cause nausea and vomiting, a rapid heartbeat, high or low blood pressure, headache, tremors, and even coma or seizures.
If a person is taken to the hospital for Visine poisoning, the emergency room attendants will determine, based on the amount of tetrahydrozoline ingested and the person's vital signs, what treatment is appropriate. The patient may receive activated charcoal, used to "trap" chemicals to prevent their absorption inside the body. He may also receive a laxative or be made to vomit in order to purge the chemical from the body. Gastric lavage, or the insertion of a tube through the mouth or nose into the stomach, can also be used to empty the contents of the stomach.
Should a patient survive past the first 24 hours after ingesting tetrahydrozoline, this is a good sign that recovery will follow.
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