Unfortunately it has taken the accidental death of Arielle Newman, a high school track star from NYC, to open our eyes about proper muscle cream usage.
Newman died from an accidental overdose of methyl salicylate, which is the wintergreen-scented ingredient found in liniments like BenGay, Icy Hot and Tiger Balm. Reports are saying that Newman put the muscle cream on her legs between track meets and also used adhesive pads containing the anti-inflammatory, plus an unspecified third product. I have used my fair share of these muscle creams to ease aches from working out, but I had no idea there were a possibility to overdose on the stuff.
Dr. Thomas Kearney, who directs a poison control center and is a professor of pharmacy at the University of California at San Francisco, said in in the report on Yahoo News that topical application of methyl salicylate can be hazardous if it is smeared over 40 percent of the body, if someone has a skin condition or if another medication interacts negatively with the products. Also as the labels warn, contact your doctor if condition worsens or symptoms persist for more than 7 days. So no matter how sore your legs are from doing a power session of squats and lunges, use caution when using products containing methyl salicylate and be conservative with how much you apply.
...My heart and thoughts goes out to Newman's family.