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A gifted schoolgirl who had stroke-like symptoms and collapsed during class was told drinking caffeine packed energy drinks were responsible for her sudden illness
A high school girl who drank energy drinks bought from the ice cream van parked outside her school was rushed to hospital in an ambulance after suffering from stroke-like symptons.
Now Catlin Fraser has been warned by doctors not to drink anymore of her favourite energy drinks – because she could have a heart attack.
The 13-year-old who is a top student at Coatbridge High School in North Lanarkshire – collapsed in the classroom when the right hand side of her body stopped working.
She had been sent on an errand by her teacher – and began to feel unwell with the right hand side of her face “going numb.”
Minutes later the brave youngster started to notice her hands were “going blue” and that the right hand side of her body had stopped working.
Quick thinking teachers immediately called an ambulance as well as her dad Tam who owns local firm Fraser Haulage and mum Laura, and she was rushed to hospital with fears she had a stroke.
The teen and many of her fellow students regularly buy a 50p drink called Emerge from the ice cream van that is parked outside of her school.
Now it can be revealed that talented dancer Caitlin had too much caffeine in her body due to a build up of the drug in her system – and that she suffered from a rare Hemiplegic Migraine.
Symptoms of the condition include paralysis on only half of the body, motor weakness, visual disturbances, sensory disruptions and speech disturbance.
She said: “The right side of my face dropped and I was wondering what was going on then two minutes later my full right side had dropped and I had no sensation down my right side.
“I was really scared, my friends then told the teacher who went and got a first aider and the school contacted my mum and dad and then phoned an ambulance.
“When the ambulance arrived I was rushed to Monklands Hospital and was seen straight away.
“I was given a CT scan, an ECG, I had my blood tested and a chest X-ray.
“Later that afternoon, I was transferred in an ambulance to Wishaw General Hospital, I had no idea what was happening and was very worried, I didn’t really know what to think.
“I had lots more tests and now I have been diagnosed with sporadic Hemiplegic Migraine.
“On my results it came back that it could have been too much caffeine.
“I used to buy this drink Emerge every day at lunch from the ice cream van which is parked outside school and some shops in the street.
“The doctors and consultant said if I drink this again I could end up having a cardiac arrest.
“I just want to make people aware of what happened to me, yes it’s very rare, but it can happen to you.
“Please please try and cut down on these energy drinks as it is a very, very scary experience but I’m so glad I had my friends and family to help me through.”
Caitlin’s mum Laura Fraser says that shopkeepers should really reconsider selling these types of drinks to youngsters.
She says that many of the drinks like Red Bull and Emerge come with warnings that say pregnant women and children should not drink them – but that vendors take no notice and sell them to children anyway.
However, while she says that from now on she is banning her daughter from drinking caffeine packed drinks, that it’s impossible to know what children are drinking when they are not with them.
She added: “I am not saying that the drinks are entirely responsible but I do think that they are not for children.
“I know that hundreds of the kids at Caitlin’s school buy these drinks regularly, they are freely available and cheap and marketed to be colourful and energy packed.
“My preference would be for her to drink water – but what can you do? You can’t be with them 24-hours-a-day.
“It would be better for shops to put an age limit on selling these drinks to prevent young people from getting their hands on them.
“Caitlin was very lucky, she had no idea these were causing so much harm. When the teachers called me I was truly horrified, I thought she was having a stroke.
“She will never drink these drinks again because of what happened to her, but I wanted to warn other parents to urge their children to be careful. This could have been so much worse.”
Emerge is produced by the Cott Corporation at their packaging facility at Kegworth in Leicestershire.
Sold in Tesco, Netto, Asda, Poundland, Home Bargains, it competes in the highly sought after energy drinks market that includes Red Bull and Relentless.
However it is lower in price retailing in some cases at just 35p.
The company was not available for comment despite requests.