Yes, OFF! FamilyCare Smooth and Dry insect repellent contains cornstarch. Reader Michelle found out about this fact the worst way possible–not through an ingredient label of which there is none that mentions cornstarch, but by inadvertently inhaling the stuff one evening and suffering an allergic reaction which lasted a few days. Michelle’s letter, inside…
So I think I figured out why I feel so dizzy and shaky and weak.
I’m allergic to corn and egg whites. The symptoms felt a lot like I feel when I have an allergic reaction, except my stomach wasn’t upset. I thought back to all the stuff I ate over the weekend, and nothing was suspect. Everything was safe.
At first I thought it was a hangover and was just delayed in hitting me. But when I still felt bad last night, and then today, that’s a lot more than a hangover.
Then I remembered, Saturday evening, I sprayed myself down with bug spray, and I accidentally breathed in a bunch of it. So I started looking up information on being poisoned by bug spray. I was looking to see if there can be a delayed reaction. There sure can. Since it had been 36 hours since I was exposed to it and I still hadn’t felt better, I considered calling the poison control hotline.
But everything I read said to have the suspected product handy if possible when calling. Since I was at work, I decided to look it up online. I knew it was OFF! and I knew what the can looked like, so I headed over to their website. The first product I click on was it (emphasis mine):
OFF!® FamilyCare Insect Repellent I Smooth & Dry
Finally, a bug spray that doesn’t feel like a bug spray! OFF!® Smooth & Dry has a unique cornstarch formula that dries on contact, leaving your skin feeling smooth & dry, unlike ordinary repellents. Feels good on… Keeps bugs OFF!® Repels mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, biting flies, chiggers and fleas.
* Aerosol (15% DEET)
Well, no wonder I feel like hell. I unintentionally filled my lungs with cornstarch. I’d bet it takes a lot longer to get something out of my lungs than it does my stomach.
I’m really careful about reading labels, but the only ingredient information the can had on it was the percentage of DEET. It didn’t even have that lovely description that I pasted from their website above.
So I called it an early day from work today, intent on coming home and drugging myself up on Benadryl. But, my boss convinced me to call my doctor when I got home. I did, and I talked to a nurse who talked to the doctor and got back to me. She said to take 10mg of Lortadine (Claritin) 2x a day for the next few days. I’m assuming she said Lortadine because Benadryl will probably make the dizziness worse. It would definitely exaggerate the sleepiness.
So at least I haven’t killed myself, and I hope this goes away soon. Although I’m really tempted to write a letter to the OFF! people…
You should write a letter to the OFF! people, SC Johnson, specifically. It seems logical to assume that there is someone out there with a more severe allergy than yours, who is looking for a non-greasy way to get rid of mosquitos. We’re not lawyers, but we’re guessing that printing a label that mentions corn starch would be cheaper than say, settling a wrongful death lawsuit.