Kids using Burt's Bees lip balm are ending up in hospitals across the country, but not by using it in the traditional manner. They're using it on their eyelids. They call it beezin, and kids do it to get high.
"It contains peppermint, which has menthol in it, which gives you that cool tingly sensation, and that's about really all that it does," Dr. Marc McSherry said.
It is unknown how beezin started, but it is quickly growing in popularity on social media. Even a homemade music video talks about beezin. While it is being glorified by some, there are major health concerns.
"Nothing in life is risk free. Basically, the risks would be if the menthol got on the eyes, it would cause an irritation, conjunctivitis or redness of the white portion of the eye," Dr. McSherry said.
If left untreated, even more problems could come up, leading to an unplanned visit to the emergency room.
"Any inflammatory process can cause scaring, especially if you have irritation to the cornea, the central clear portion of the pupil, and that's where you're going to get all your vision from. If there's cloudiness from scaring, it could affect your vision for the rest of your life," Dr. McSherry said.
Even if you don't think your kids are taking part in this beezin activity, there are still some tell-tale signs that you can pay attention to.
"Local irritation is going to be the predominant thing. As far as the odor from peppermint, you're not really going to know if it's on their eyes or lips where it should be," Dr. McSherry said.
Any emergency room will have rinsing solutions available for anyone that comes in with symptoms related to beezin. There are no cases of beezin being reported in Sioux Falls.