Can BenGay Kill you ?

So I’ve been rubbing Bengay on my shoulder over the last few days. I just love the smell and sensation. But my wife tells me she read of someone who died due to an overdose of Bengay. Turns out there was a case of a young runner who died and was found to have high levels of methyl salicytate (the active anti-inflammatory ingredient that gives it the wintergreen smell) in her system. But that sounds like a bit of a freak accident. The girl must have been coated in the stuff.

How much methyl salicylate is in Bengay and how does that compare to, say, aspirin ? Here, I’m reading that to “appreciate the danger of this oil it can be compared to aspirin tablets (325 mg dose): one teaspoon (5 ml) of Oil of Wintergreen is equivalent to approximately 7000 mg of salicylate or 21.7 adult aspirin tablets.” Whoa !

If Bengay is 30% methyl salicylate, then a teaspoon of bengay would be approximately 6-7 aspirins, right ? Holy cow ! Who’s ever taken that many aspirins ! I found another page where someone’s apparently asked the same question and did way more research than myself this morning. Wintergreen (methyl salicylate) is a real medicine like aspirin and therefore not to be underestimated.

Lesson learned: I probably won’t die using Bengay from time to time, but it’s a good thing to not overdo it, and especially not leave the tube out where a 2-year old could mistake it for toothpaste or who knows what.

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