PITTSBURGH, Pa. (KDKA) - President Trump is pushing back over criticism that he questioned if doctors could inject patients with disinfectant to help those with coronavirus.
Whatever his intent, almost immediately after President Trump's statement Thursday, the internet and social medial were ablaze with comment and consternation over using Clorox, Lysol or bleach to battle COVID-19 from the inside out.
For instance, the makers of Lysol and other disinfectant products quickly put out a statement: "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 the surgeon general tweeted, urging people to talk to health providers first before administering any treatment or medication.
Why would anybody even consider doing it? Well, these are unprecedented times we're living in.
Medical Director of Pittsburgh Poison Center Michael J. Lynch, M.D. put it this way: "People are stressed and anxious and searching for answers that at times, some solutions might be presented despite some initial reticence people will try."
Dr. Lynch said cleaning products would kill the virus and its host.
"It can burn if you swallow, it can cause damage to your stomach and internal bleeding if you inhale it, can cause lung injury and coughing," he explained.
At a Friday press conference, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says injecting or ingesting disinfectant would be "extremely dangerous."
"I have actually seen children, young children, who have ingested cleaning materials, and they've had very, very severe burns in their esophagus requiring intensive care and operations," she said. "So I can tell you from my clinical experience, that's a extremely dangerous thing to do and I can't offer my highest recommendation not to do that."
Now as strange as it sounds, people have already died from poisoning themselves during the pandemic. Most of us have heard of hydroxychloroquine and its use to quell COVID-19 symptoms.
Unfortunately, several people purchased chloroquine phosphate, a powerful fish tank cleaning agent, thinking it would help battle the deadly disease. Some of them died as a result.
Dr. Lynch says that's not terribly surprising.
"Sometimes things that seem really obvious and logical at face value turn out not to be so easily transferable. So saying something kills a virus and then being able to use it on a human doesn't necessarily transfer," he says.
During a signing ceremony for the second block of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, President Trump claimed he was being sarcastic. Hours earlier, the White House press secretary gave a different explanation, saying the remarks were taken out of context.
"I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen," the president told CBS News' Weijia Jiang in the Oval Office.
In the end, Dr, lynch says it's simple: if it says it can kill you on the label, believe it.
"Use your head. If you don't know, ask people who do," he says.
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