The recall follows numerous reports of serious burns in the US, with consumers reporting a host of first, second and third-degree burns. As of March there were reports of only four burns, and less severe in nature in Canada. However, the products were recalled anyway.
The potential for burns from an Icy Hot patch came as a surprise to some, given that the typical consumer does not associate the potential for burns, with a product promising pain relief. You're supposed to get burns from the sun, or hot water—not something meant to heal you. What's more, the Icy Hot patch, via the reaction of certain chemicals within the patch, provides an initial burst of coolness, which helps to contract the affected muscle, followed by a radiance of warmth to sooth aching muscles, and pain.
The problem is that the patches have been found to be too hot for some. There have been reports of consumers falling asleep with the patch on—something the manufacturer warns against—and therefore the patient does not feel the pain associated with the onset of an actual burn.
The Icy Hot Patch has adversely affected others with sensitive skin. Seniors, with aging skin that is thin and more susceptible to injury, have been injured from using the product.
Recalled products include the back patch (the one featuring the a famous basketball star in the TV ads), as well as patches for the arm, neck and leg. Included in the recalls across both sides of the border were product samples of arm, neck and leg patches that were included as a promotional, added-value item with Aspercreme Pain Relieving Crème. The promo packs bore a yellow sticker that features the text 'Bonus Icy Hot Heat Therapy Patch Inside' and bore lot numbers C2125, C2126 and C2127.
Consumers who took delivery of an icy hot patch product as part of a promotional bonus for another, more familiar product may not have understood the potential risks associated with the new product. Consumers unfamiliar with the product may have also been confused by the dual action of the product, which initially feels cool, but soon transcends into soothing warmth.
However, for the wrong individual, or used unwisely (such as while sleeping) that soothing warmth can get out of hand and lead to a burn so severe that some consumers have required a trip to the hospital.
Generally, consumers believe that drugs and medical products are supposed to help, not hurt. And while most will be aware that most drugs, for example, carry risk for some kind of adverse reaction, the degree to which advertisers have defused the seriousness of adverse reactions by way of creative, and sugar-coated advertising has left consumers with a false sense of security. Having your doctor say to you that a particular medication carries potentially serious side effects is one thing. Seeing a sunny image on TV of two people smiling and dancing thanks to the benefits of XYZ drug is quite another, while the disembodied voice of the announcer rattles off the side effects, some of them horrific, against a backdrop of uplifting music.
What does this have to do with Icy Hot? The perception, thanks to the modern-day onslaught of medicines and medicinal products, that pills and patches can't hurt us. But the reality is that they can, and they have.
The lesson here is to pay attention to every piece of information that comes with a product you are about to ingest, or place onto your body. Follow the instructions implicitly.
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Read the directions carefully, and if you qualify according to those criteria, apply the patch with equal care. Then monitor it, and your body. Don't fall asleep, or don't ignore that nagging feeling that this device is getting just a bit too hot for your liking. In reality, it could be getting too hot for your health.
That happened to about 200 consumers in the US before the Icy Hot Patch recall. There have been many reports of people with burns, and residual pain lasting for weeks.
There have also been reports of people contacting an Icy Hot patch lawyer, for an even higher level of pain relief...