SPECIAL COVERAGE: 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500

Doctors warn of caffeine use in heat following 16-year-old boy’s death

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- After a seemingly healthy, 16-year-old boy died from drinking an excessive amount of caffeine in a short amount of time, doctors are warning people to limit their caffeine drinks, especially in the heat.

Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, Medical Director for Indiana's Poison Center, says while this case is rare, they often see people in emergency rooms suffering from symptoms of too much caffeine.

"It increases acid secretion in the stomach, so people start to get stomach pain. They’ll start to feel nauseated, they might get vomiting. As the levels build up, you’ll start to get tremor and shakes, then your heart will start going really fast," Dr. Rusyniak said.

How much you should drink depends on your tolerance to caffeine. Dr. Rusuniak said to pay attention to what your body is telling you.

"People tend to have symptoms that limit them pretty early. After you 3rd cup of coffee you feel pretty lousy," he said.

If you combine hot weather with caffeine, you'll likely feel even worse. With high temperatures and the Indy 500 quickly approaching, Dr. Rusyniak recommends sticking to water and drinking lots of it.

"It can kind of blunt some normal systems you have to tell you that you’re overheating. One of the things your body uses to tell you that you’re overdoing it and you may be overheating is fatigue," he said.

Each brand and drink type contains a different amount of caffeine. In general, a 12 ounce cup of coffee has about 230 milligrams of caffeine and a 12 ounce Red Bull has about 113.

Click here for a detailed report from The Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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