Hot sauce in the eyes sounds like a nightmare, but for a Utah teenager, it was a nightmarish reality.
A woman in a Salt Lake City suburb and her friend were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of duct-taping her 14-year-old son to a chair and pouring hot sauce in his eyes as punishment for breaking a glass dish.
Hot sauce, or any substance derived from chili or jalapeno peppers (Tabasco, Sriracha, etc.), can cause horrible pain if it gets in your eyes.
Even small amounts can cause extreme irritation and burning sensations, as you may know if you have ever handled chilies or pepper products with your hands and then absent-mindedly rubbed your eyes.
Here are some tips to follow if hot sauce is in your eyes, derived from the Nemours Foundation:
- Thoroughly wash your hands before touching the affected eye
- Do NOT press or rub the eye
- Gently flush the affected eye with lukewarm water or a saline solution for up to 15 minutes
- If water does not bring relief, try gently pouring a small amount of whole milk into the eye. Milk neutralizes capsaicin, the chemical in peppers that causes spiciness.
- Flush the milk out of the eye with water
- In extreme cases you can call your local poison control center's 24-hour hotline for specific instructions, at 1-800-222-1222.
The burning and irritation will likely subside well before you feel the need to call poison control.
In strong doses, capsaicin can be a potent neurotoxin - hence its use in pepper spray.
However, a study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science found no long-term damage to the protective corneal tissue of the eye from a single exposure to capsaicin, though it is possible that repeated exposure can cause degradation and long-lasting changes to cornea sensitivity.
The Utah teenager's case is an extreme one, with the spicy Tabasco sauce having been poured directly into his eyes.
Most cases of chilies coming into contact with eyes are far less direct, causing no damage aside from the temporary discomfort and burning sensation.
"This is not discipline that any child should have to go through," said West Valley Police Sgt. Jason Hauer to ABC News. "It's definitely abuse."
Meanwhile, the teenager has been returned to his father's custody, and the mother, Robin Willette Rumsey, and her friend, Krista Jean Miller, were arrested on multiple felony child abuse and endangerment charges.
The two women, who lived together, had been abusing the boy for two years, repeatedly holding the boy in their basement, forcing him to smoke marijuana, and prying his mouth open to pour alcohol on his face.
There are no reports of the teenage victim suffering permanent damage from the abuse. His mother and her friend, meanwhile, face serious prison time.
Published by Medicaldaily.com