After Trump's Briefing, South Texas Poison Center Expects Calls About Ingesting Disinfectant

President Donald Trumps speaks at one of his daily briefings on the coronavirus response. - The White House
The White House
President Donald Trumps speaks at one of his daily briefings on the coronavirus response.
After President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that disinfectants could offer an internal treatment for the coronavirus, the South Texas Poison Center warned that such chemicals are dangerous and potentially deadly.

"I'm not familiar with any calls we're receiving about it right now, but I'm betting they will come," said Dr. Shawn Varney, the center's medical director.

Varney said most people understand disinfectants such as Lysol, which can kill the coronavirus on surfaces, are not intended to be ingested. However, many are desperate to hear good news during the health crisis, meaning those in power should be "careful about what they say."

"We're all trying to be hopeful, but we also need to be helpful, and we need to exercise caution," the physician said.

During the nationally televised briefing, Trump said researchers were looking at the effects of disinfectants and pondered aloud if they could be injected into people. “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute — one minute — and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning?” he asked.

On Friday, Lysol's parent company, Reckitt Benckiser, issued a statement to quell what it called "recent speculation" about its cleaning products.

“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),” the firm said.

As Trump champs at the bit to reopen the economy, he's frequently touted miraculous cures with little scientific information to back them up.

Varney points to the recent poisoning of an Arizona couple — one lived, the other didn't — when they injected aquarium cleaner after Trump praised the cleaner's active ingredient, chloroquine phosphate as a “game changer” in defeating the coronavirus.

"If it seems bad, it probably is," Varney added. "If you wouldn't want to put it in your eye, you wouldn't want to put it in your bloodstream, or your lungs, or an open wound. The nature and purposes of these chemicals is to kill."

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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