WebMD Doctors: Don't Ingest or Inject Disinfectant

From the WebMD Archives

Note: This special editorial was written by Michael Smith, MD, WebMD’s chief medical director, on behalf of WebMD’s entire medical team.

April 24, 2020 -- The doctors at WebMD feel compelled to speak directly to the suggestion that ingesting or injecting disinfectants, or putting them on your skin, would help in the fight against COVID-19.

Not only is there no evidence this would help in any way, it’s extremely dangerous and very possibly deadly. Plain and simple, don’t do this. We often see, and are asked about, the latest coronavirus hype that someone has seen on the internet. And while much of the advice is useless and not valid, this is particularly harmful.

We want to be very clear: This is not something anyone, for any reason, should consider.

To understand the harm, you only need look at the label. We reviewed the label on a popular disinfectant that includes bleach, one of the most common ingredients in these products. The list of warnings is quite lengthy. First, it’s corrosive to metals. Think about what it’ll do your skin and internal organs.

Drinking it can injure the throat, esophagus, or stomach, leading to painful swallowing, drooling, a hard time breathing, vomiting, belly pain, or chest pain. Breathing in bleach can cause severe breathing problems and shock from the damage to the lungs. Injecting bleach has been linked to kidney damage and clotting in the veins.

Hydrogen peroxide is another popular disinfectant. Ingestion can cause blistering of the throat, a hard time breathing, and stomach bleeding and even confusion, seizures, coma, and sudden death.

To be clear, disinfectants, when properly used, are very beneficial on surfaces, like countertops, doorknobs, floors, etc., to help kill the coronavirus. Not on, or in, your body -- ever.

WebMD Commentary Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on April 24, 2020


EMResident, “Bleach Ingestion: To Scope or Not to Scope?”

Journal of Medical Toxicology, “Acute Kidney Injury Due to Intravenous Bleach Injection.”

Human & Experimental Toxicology, “Venous thrombosis following intravenous injection of household bleach.”

Toxicological Reviews, “Hydrogen peroxide poisoning.”

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