MEDFORD, Ore. – Energy drinks are increasingly popular among young adults, but their consumption is also increasing among kids and teens, which health officials say is dangerous.
Kristin Filer, an R.N. with Providence Medford Medical Center says about a third of 12 to 17-year-olds drink them regularly. Filer says a lot kids are substituting soda for energy drinks, which is worse.
“They still have these still developing nervous and cardiovascular systems, so when you introduce so much caffeine on their systems, you're looking at these adverse effects, like palpitations and dehydration,” Filer said.
Filer says they’ve also seen a lot of seizures as a result.
“We're seeing a huge influx of all these energy drinks on what they do to kids and how they cause these adverse effects to them, especially for kids who have underlying heart problems or asthma issues. It just exacerbates it,” Filer said.
She says one of the biggest reasons is the amount of caffeine energy drinks have in them. Also, the amount of sugar, which Filer says is usually way more than a can of soda. A can of Rockstar or Redbull has about 240 milligrams of caffeine, and that doesn’t include the additives.
“You have to remember energy drinks aren't really approved by the FDA, so they're not really regulated the way that they should be,” Filer said. “So, really being careful with kids, especially that 12-to-17-year range, because that is where we're seeing the most ER visits with these kids because it's just too much caffeine for their systems.”