Hello, and welcome to my first segment of â€œStupid $h!t I See On Facebook,â€ where your height-challenged host discusses the idiocy that occasionally appears on her Facebook account. Todayâ€™s subject? Ora-Gel as the cause of â€œaltisimâ€ in teething infants.
Yes,Â you read that correctly.Â Some girl informed an acquaintance of mine on Facebook that her pediatrician told her that Ora-Gel would cause â€œaltisim.â€ Moving right along…
Now then,Â I realize itâ€™s been a few months since I last ran an EMS call, so I figured this might be some new disease or condition that I was unfamiliar with. Never fear, Miniâ€™s search engine of preference is here!
â€œSearch engine, reveal to me what â€˜altisimâ€™ is, and I shall richly reward you!â€
*search engine thinks for a nanosecond*Â
â€œHey Mini, did you mean â€˜autisim?â€™ â€
â€œNo, search engine, I typed â€˜altisim,â€™ â€ because I MEANT â€˜altisim.â€™ Now give me an answer before I break your little search engine neck.â€
*search engine kicks back a list*
â€œAlrighty, I couldnâ€™t find anything on â€˜altisim,â€™ but I did find a number of close matches. Would you like to see those results?â€
So I looked. I read aboutÂ Â Altium Limited, the Aussie-based software company, and altissimo, which is defined as the â€œuppermost register on woodwind instruments.â€ I even took the time to read about the AilanthusÂ altissima, or the â€œtree of heavenâ€ on good olâ€™Wikipedia. For the first time in my life, Wikipedia had failed me. I was crestfallen, to tell the truthâ€¦but I still had a few tricks up my sleeve.
I meandered over to Urban Dictionary, as closer visual inspection of AltisimÂ Girlâ€™s picture revealed her to be a young woman in my age bracket who enjoyed posing in short-shorts and sports jerseys while closely surrounded by members of the opposite sex. Perhaps â€œaltisimâ€ is a new slang term that Iâ€™ve never heard before, I reasoned. A few keystrokes later, I found myself combing through Urban Dictionaryâ€™s list of definitionsâ€¦and once again, I came up empty-handed.
My medical information apps on my Droid? Zip, zero, ZILCH.
Hm. This is conundrumâ€¦perhaps I should conduct a bit more research upon Ora-Gelâ€™s active ingredient, benzocaine, as it is entirely possible that this might be the cause of â€œaltisim.â€Â
*reads Wikipedia article benzocaine* Chemical nameâ€¦method of action…oh, wait, hereâ€™s something:
â€œBenzocaine also is a well-known cause of methemoglobinemia. Because it may be used in topical creams with a concentration as much as 20%, it is not difficult to administer a dose sufficient to cause this problem.â€
Metho-what? *clicks article link*
â€œMethemoglobinemiaÂ is a disorder characterized by the presence of a higher than normal level of methemoglobinÂ (metHb) in the blood. Methemoglobin is an oxidized form of hemoglobinÂ that has almost no affinity for oxygen, resulting in almost no oxygen delivery to the tissues. When its concentration is elevated in red blood cells, tissue hypoxia can occur.â€
A touch further down, I come across this lovely little tidbit of information.
“Over-application of oral anesthetics such as Anbesol can increase the risk of pulmonary aspiration by relaxing the gag-reflex and allowing regurgitated stomach contents or oral secretions to enter the airway. Applying an oral anesthetic and consuming beverages before going to bed can be particularly hazardous. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified healthcare professionals and patients that FDA continues to receive reports of methemoglobinemia, a serious and potentially fatal adverse effect, associated with benzocaine products.”
As I continued to stare at my computer screen, I began to wonder if Miss AltisimÂ had actually meant AUTISIM…and my hand once again moved towards my face in total and utter disbelief at the intelligenceÂ level of certainÂ individuals as I silently thought, “Girl, who the f*** is your pediatrician, and where the hell is she getting her information from?”
Hope you enjoyed this segmentÂ of “Stupid $h!t I See On Facebook.” If you have your ownÂ original story regarding medical ignorance on social networking sites,Â do tell. I’m not above allowing guest posters here. (On occasion.)