CHICAGO — Illinois Poison Control has seen an uptick in calls since President Donald Trump questioned if injecting disinfectant could cure coronavirus.
Dr. Nogzi Ezike, head of the Illinois Department of Public Health, warned people not to try to use cleaning products on or in their bodies to fight coronavirus. She also said Illinois Poison Control has gotten more callers after Trump’s Thursday comments.
“Injecting, ingesting, snorting household cleaners is dangerous. It is not advised and can be deadly,” Ezike said during a Saturday press conference. “In the past two days, there’s been a significant increase in calls to the Illinois Poison Center compared to the same time last year.”
The governor’s office did not immediately provide numbers showing how large an uptick there has been.
Ezike said one caller reported using a detergent solution for a sinus rinse, while another person said he or she gargled with a mixture of bleach and mouthwash in hopes of controlling coronavirus.
Doctors around the country have told people not to try such things since Trump, speaking during a Thursday briefing on coronavirus, questioned if disinfectants could be injected into people or otherwise used to kill COVID-19.
“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” Trump said. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”
Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, warned Friday ingesting disinfectants or putting them on your skin can cause serious harm — or even death.
Arwady, speaking during a live stream, was asked by a viewer to address Trump’s comments. She said she didn’t think Trump meant for his comments to be taken as him saying disinfectants are a cure, but “the way it came out has the potential to be really dangerous.”
“If you try to drink bleach or disinfect or put your body in it, it will do major, major damage to your insides and can cause death, in fact, fairly quickly,” Arwady said. “So, as we’ve said, no indication for ever putting household chemicals or disinfectants in your body, on your body.
“It does nothing to clean your body. It does nothing to help prevent COVID. It does nothing to treat COVID.”
Trump has also been criticized for promoting a drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a potential treatment for coronavirus. The drug’s use for COVID-19 is unproven, with some research showing it might in fact prove deadly for people who are sick with coronavirus.
Gov. JB Pritzker warned last week people shouldn’t use hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus unless future research shows it is safe and effective.
Illinois Poison Control specialists are available 24 hour per day, every day. Those in need can call 800-222-1222.
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