Citing a “significant increase” in calls to the Illinois Poison Control Center, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike is urging state residents not to ingest cleaning chemicals as a treatment for coronavirus.
“There has been a significant increase in calls to the Illinois Poison Control Center in association with exposure to cleaning agents (since Thursday),” she said.
The warning comes after President Donald Trump appeared to suggest injecting disinfectants to treat people with coronavirus.
Here is what he said during the briefing:
“And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds – it sounds interesting to me.”
Reports from around the country quickly emerged of people ingesting cleaning substances in hopes of curing the virus. Poison control officials in New York City said that calls for bleach and Lysol-related issues doubled after the president’s comments.
Ezike joined hundreds of other health officials in asking people not to ingest household cleaning chemicals.
“Injecting, ingesting, or snorting household cleaners is dangerous,” she said. “It is not advised, and it can be deadly.”
Ezike cited several examples of what residents have reported doing in recent days, including use of a detergent solution for a sinus rinse and gargling with a mixture of bleach and mouthwash.
The doctor advised Illinois residents not to try home remedies to cure or treat the virus, including those that “involve ingesting cleaners or disinfectants.”
Trump’s remarks caused a wave of criticism and statements from companies that produce household cleaning products asking their customers not to ingest the substances.
“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,” Reckitt Benckiser, the parent company of Lysol and Dettol, said in a statement.
The president told reporters the following day that he was “asking the question sarcastically….just to see what would happen.”
According to CNN, Trump’s comments on disinfectants came after William Bryan, head of the Science and Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security, spoke during a White House press briefing about researchers testing the effect of disinfectants on virus-laden saliva and respiratory fluids in a laboratory setting.