Doctors warn of excess caffeine use after teenager's death - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Doctors warn of excess caffeine use after teenager's death


Madison (WKOW) --  The death of a teenager in South Carolina has doctors across the country warning people to be careful with how much caffeine they consume.

Officials say Davis Cripe had an energy drink, a latte and a Mountain Dew in just two hours last month. He went into cardiac arrest and died. Officials say the caffeine is to blame. 

Dr. Christian Rickman with St. Mary's Hospital in Madison says it's important to know how caffeine will affect you personally, because everyone reacts a little differently.

"It depends on how big you are, your body mass, if you built up a tolerance to caffeine if you're a regular caffeine user," he says. "Somebody whose body is naive to caffeine, or has never had caffeine before, is going to react differently to the same dose of caffeine, as opposed to somebody who is a multiple cup of coffee per day drinker."

According to the Mayo Clinic, about 400 mg of caffeine a day is generally safe, for most healthy adults. That's about the amount of caffeine in four cups of coffee, 10 cans of soda or two energy shot drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics says to keep kids and teens away from energy drinks, because of high doses of caffeine.

Teri Ward's daughter Jada is an active teenager, participating in multiple sports throughout high school. While she eats very healthy, the Sun Prairie mom still worries when Jada chooses a drink with caffeine. It affects her anxiety, so she set limits to keep her healthy.

Ward says she was sad to hear about Cripe's death and she hopes schools can help teach families about the dangers of caffeine.

"We need to have the school systems educate the kids on this," Ward tells 27 News. "A lot of kids are not aware of any of this. There are many kids out there that have no idea that this would even be an issue."

Doctors say someone new to coffee or energy drinks should take it easy. Start with just one and decide from there whether you can handle more. Signs you've had too much caffeine can include chest pain or discomfort, or you might start feeling sweaty. 

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