Swallowing Anbesol: What will Happen?

Short Answer: If you accidentally swallow Anbesol, you may have some side effects such as nausea, vomiting, or methemoglobinemia, which is a serious condition that lowers the oxygen in your blood.

Anbesol is a topical anesthetic that contains benzocaine, a numbing medication.

It works by blocking nerve signals in your body.

Anbesol is used for the temporary relief of pain from sore throat, canker sores, fever blisters, minor irritation or injury of the mouth and gums.

If you accidentally swallow Anbesol, you may experience some side effects such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, headache, dizziness, or drowsiness.

This is because it contains benzocaine, which can be absorbed into your bloodstream and affect your nervous system and blood cells.

Benzocaine can cause a condition called methemoglobinemia, which is a potentially fatal disorder that reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood.

This can cause symptoms such as confusion, fast heart rate, light-headedness, shortness of breath, and bluish or grayish skin, lips, or fingernails.

It is quite uncommon to swallow Anbesol due to its bitter taste and the fact that it is usually applied to the skin or surfaces inside the mouth.

However, if you do swallow Anbesol, you should seek medical attention immediately, especially if you have any signs of methemoglobinemia or an allergic reaction (such as rash, itching, swelling, or trouble breathing).

To avoid accidental swallowing of Anbesol, you should follow the directions on the label or as prescribed by your doctor.

You should use the smallest amount needed to numb the skin or relieve pain.

You should not apply Anbesol to large skin areas or cover it with bandages or plastic wrap.

You should also avoid eating or drinking anything until the numbness wears off.

Finally, remember, Anbesol is a medicine that should be used only for the intended purpose and as directed.

Do not use Anbesol if you have ever had methemoglobinemia or if you are allergic to benzocaine or any other ingredient in Anbesol.

Do not use Anbesol on a child younger than 2 years old without a doctor’s advice.

About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutrition coach with over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition.

He holds a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) and Master's (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from The University of Burdwan, India. He was also involved with a research project about genetic variations in the CYP11A gene among PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome patients.

He has completed the following online courses: Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University (US) through Coursera, Certificate in Nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc. (US), Lose Weight and Keep It Off certificate course from Harvard Medical School (US), and Nutrition and Disease Prevention by Taipei Medical University (Taiwan) through FutureLearn.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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