Popular kitchen spice cinnamon causes hundreds to become ill

CLEVELAND - The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports more than 500 cases of cinnamon poisoning since 2008. The cases ranged from minor to severe with varying reactions.

The uses for cinnamon oil range from pesticide and perfume ingredient to food flavoring and more. It has also been used by adolescents as a recreational drug, and it can cause some adverse side effects.

Skin and/or Oral Poisoning

The best remedy for a skin reaction to cinnamon, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers,  is to thoroughly wash the area with soap and water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends wearing a long sleeve shirt, long pants, socks, shoes and chemical resistant gloves when working around cinnamon.

If the person ingests cinnamon oil, he may experience oral lesions and ulcerations along the tongue, lip swelling and a burning sensation. After treatment, if the condition persists, the symptoms can generally be solved by removing cinnamon from the person's diet.

Rapid Heart Rate

Cinnamon poisoning may affect the cardiovascular system, causing a rapid heart beat. A normal heart beats 60 to 100 times a minute; a rapid heart rate will increase the beats per minute above 100, potentially up to 400 beats per minute.

Shortness of Breath and Dizziness

Too much cinnamon oil can also affect respiration. Respiratory symptoms tightening of the lungs, causing the affected person to breathe more in an attempt to get more air.  Due to the lack of air, the individual may experience lightheadedness.

Facial Flushing

After ingesting too much cinnamon oil, a person may experience changes to blood supply. An increase in the blood leads to facial flushing and may cause a warming sensation.

Nausea

Cinnamon oil can cause digest problems such as diarrhea,  vomiting and nausea. Also, while the oil travels through the digestive tract, a burning sensation may be felt in the mouth, chest, stomach and rectal area.

Coming up tonight on NewsChannel 5 at 11, Investigator Sarah Buduson reports how kids and teens are using cinnamon to perform dangerous, even life threatening stunts. Follow the conversation on this story by using the hashtag #5digs on Twitter.

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