Two men hospitalised for drinking disinfectant to 'prevent coronavirus' days after Trump suggested it could be a cure

Sirena Bergman@SirenaBergman
Wednesday 29 April 2020 11:15
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(iStock)

Two men in Georgia have reportedly drunk household disinfectants in an effort to prevent coronavirus, a week after President Trump claimed it could be a potential cure.

One man – who has a history of psychiatric concerns – drank 16 ounces (half a litre) of bleach "to prevent Covid-19", according to Gaylord Lopez, director of the Georgia Poison Centre.

The man was taken to a psychiatric unit and has since been released.

Another man in Georgia drank Pine-Sol (a household disinfectant) mixed with mouthwash, and has since been hospitalised, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Lopez says the reason for the incidents is unknown.

We don’t ask the question of, was it because they watched a TV show? We are just told, ‘What do we do for these patients?’ And it’s our job to try to give them treatment advice to make sure these patients make it.

He added that the president's comments should be looked into though, as they have potentially been "misinterpreted" by the public.

According to the AJC, at least two other people in the state have been taken ill after ingesting household chemicals, but these incidents occured before the president's comments.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, there has been a spike in cases of people falling ill due to the misuse of cleaning products.

Lopez explains that many of these cases are down to people mixing disinfectant products in large quantities and inhaling the fumes which can be toxic.

When you mix bleach with certain types of chemicals, you produce a reaction that can cause release of noxious and toxic gases, and if you inhale enough of this stuff, you can induce a chemical pneumonia,

There have also been instances of children ingesting such products as parents leave them unattended after increased use. In Georgia, the poison centre received just 49 calls relating to the mixture of household chemicals, while this year since 1 March alone it has handled 115. New York's poison centre also saw an increase in such calls.

After President Trump's comments that perhaps disinfectant could be injected into the body as a "cleaning" to treat coronavirus, he received widespread backlash. He later claimed he was being "sarcastic" and wanted to "see what would happen".

It seems we now know what can happen.

Last time Trump touted an unproven potential cure for coronavirus, it was hydrochloroquine – a chemical used to treat malaria but also found in some household items, namely products to clean aquariums.

As a direct result of Trump's comments, a couple ingested this product. The man subsequently died.

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