Dettol Warns Against Drinking Disinfectants to Cure the Coronavirus

As fears and concerns about the rapid spread of coronavirus continue to rise, more and more people resort to desperate measures to avoid contracting the virus. These measures range from the relatively harmless to the deadly.

Recently, speculation and comments on social media stirred up discussions about the possibility of drinking or injecting oneself with disinfectant as a cure for the coronavirus.

This was possibly said on the belief that disinfectants would wipe out the coronavirus inside the human body just as it would when cleaning surfaces like floors, doorknobs, counters, etc.

Reckitt Benckiser (RB), the makers of Dettol antiseptic products have felt compelled to make a statement as a result of their concern for public health. The statement reads in part:

"As a global leader in 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). As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information." 

Disinfectants like Dettol have instructions like 'for external use only' and 'keep out of reach of children' printed on their products for a reason. Ingesting these products are potentially dangerous and can even be fatal – quite a number of people have sadly attempted to commit suicide in this way. 

Many disinfectants contain harsh chemicals that destroy the cell membranes of any germs on the surfaces you wipe them on. If ingested, it will act in the same way – except on the tissues in your body, and not on germs. 

The toxic effect of disinfectants can depend on the amount of the substance ingested. Still, America's National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) warns that ingesting disinfectants like Dettol can cause several worrying side effects such as slowed neurological functions and corrosion or burns in the mouth, throat, and stomach.

There is also an additional risk of breathing in the disinfectant into one's airways in the process of ingestion. This could cause additional complications like pneumonia, adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and even cardiac arrest.

So far, no cure or vaccine has been found to combat the coronavirus, so we must all rely on facts and follow the advice of recognised health authorities in preventing the coronavirus. 

The WHO (World Health Organisation) and the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) have advised social distancing coupled with frequent and thorough hand washing as the best means of preventing coronavirus.

Please note that disinfectants and hygiene products are best used for their intended purpose. Drinking such products will not cure coronavirus, but will possibly damage your health.

You can confirm COVID-19 facts from RB's dedicated coronavirus fact-checking site here

 

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