Woman’s blood turned blue after she used numbing cream to treat toothache

Nation/World
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A 25-year-old woman walked into an emergency department in Providence, Rhode Island, complaining of generalized weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath… and an unusual symptom you don’t see every day.

She was turning blue. Literally.

Physicians Otis Warren and Benjamin Blackwood wrote about the case in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday.

They attributed her blueness to a numbing agent the woman was using, which deadens nerve endings in the skin.

“She reported having used large amounts of topical benzocaine the night before for a toothache,” the two co-authors wrote.

CNN has reached out to Otis Warren, an emergency medicine physician at Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, and is waiting to hear back.

It’s caused by low oxygen levels

Warren and Blackwood wrote that the patient was “cyanotic,” a clinical term for the blue appearance.

According to Healthline, “cyanosis is usually caused by low oxygen levels in the red blood cells or problems getting oxygenated blood to your body.”

The woman was showing signs of “acquired methemoglobinemia.”

Oxygen-rich blood is usually associated with a bright red color, but when blood has lower oxygen content it can appear blue, the site says.

Trademark and Copyright 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

TOP VIDEO

Vanessa Guillen Mural on Houston's Taqueria Del Sol

Thumbnail for the video titled "Vanessa Guillen Mural on Houston's Taqueria Del Sol"

Mother Takes Daughters To See Vanessa Guillen Mural

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mother Takes Daughters To See Vanessa Guillen Mural"

Vanessa Guillen Mural Artist

Thumbnail for the video titled "Vanessa Guillen Mural Artist"

Foul play suspected in Guillen disappearance

Thumbnail for the video titled "Foul play suspected in Guillen disappearance"

It's Not Hou It's Me

More It's Not Hou It's Me

Fitness Friday

More Fitness Friday

More Morning Dose

More Morning Dose

LOCAL COVID-19 PUBLIC THREAT LEVEL

TEXAS COVID-19 CASES

Hot Hazy Humid

Fourth of July Forecast

Thumbnail for the video titled "Fourth of July Forecast"

Days

Hours

Minutes

Seconds

Class Acts

More Class Acts

Don't Miss

Latest

More Morning Dose

Popular