During the coronavirus press briefing on April 23rd, 2020, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, suggested injecting disinfectant into the lungs, or bringing ultraviolet light inside the body, to knock out the virus. Yes, that was a real statement, despite the fact that he later said that he was joking. Unfortunately, many people took this “joke” to heart and began calling emergency hotlines to see if this was a valid treatment option. We can assure you that injecting yourself with disinfectant is not a viable treatment for coronavirus.
It seems like we shouldn’t have to say what we just said about not injecting the body with disinfectants, but we do. It is never a good idea to inject the body with chemicals like that because the result could be life-threatening. Not to mention, it will be very painful.
The company that makes Dettol and Lysol, Reckitt Benckiser Group, had to issue a statement in response to Trump’s suggestions. The statement read, “As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion, or any other route).” Even Harvard’s toxicology Twitter account felt the need to issue medical advice, saying that people shouldn’t drink bleach or inject disinfectant. The tweet went on to say that bleach injections cause hemolysis, which is when red blood cells that carry oxygen break apart and lead to liver damage. Additionally, disinfectants can cause bleeding or dangerous burns in the stomach upon entering the body.
Here’s Why You Don’t Inject Or Drink Bleach
Did people forget about the “Do not drink” warning on bleach? Bleach is a common ingredient in many disinfectant products. According to Dr. Raid Vohra, medical director of the California Poison Control System’s Freson/Madera Division, bleach is a term for a chemical that lightens or removes color. Household bleach typically contains sodium hypochlorite in a solution that should be diluted with water before using it to clean surfaces in the home, or to wash clothes. Bleach is a caustic or corrosive chemical, meaning that it destroys the cell membranes of living cells upon coming in contact with them. This is why it effectively cleans surfaces like countertops or cupboards. Bleach does the same thing to your bodily tissues after ingestion or injections.
When cells are exposed to caustic chemicals like bleach, cell membranes rupture and the cells die instantaneously. This causes an inflammatory response that leads to swelling. Toxicologists have reported burns to the mouth, esophagus, and stomach after examining people who ingested corrosive chemicals like bleach. They have also reported that bleach can cause severe damage to the lungs.
Here’s Why You Don’t Inject Or Drink Disinfectant Products
As we mentioned earlier, the maker of Lysol had to respond to President Trump’s comments for the health and safety of the public. Benzalkonium chloride, another caustic chemical, is in Lysol and other household disinfectant products. Dr. Vohra said that injecting a disinfectant like Lysol into your veins can burn them from the inside out, increasing your risk of infection or further damage that may only be remedied by surgically removing damaged body parts.
Disinfectants are effective when used responsibly and on the right targets, which are inanimate, non-living surfaces. Ingesting or injecting these products can result in corrosive injury inside the body.