Pandemic fear has people drinking disinfectants

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Mass hysteria and panic across the country have people risking their lives to prevent COVID-19 infection. Their fear of being victims of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic has led to people taking drastic measures. I share the belief of many others that the fear is unjustified. However, the media’s thirst for doom and gloom continues to create panic.

Pandemic-related survey

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its COVID-19 response team reported shocking results of an online survey. Participants answered questions about their general knowledge of coronavirus-related dangers. Researchers gathered information about the attitudes to Coronavirus prevention.  Moreover, they focused on the cleaning practices of people when it comes to the use of household chemicals. Most importantly, the CDC asked specific questions to determine the methods people use to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Shocking results of online survey

The research outcome underscores the level of hysteria and panic people experience, mostly based on media reports. According to the CDC, almost four in 10 respondents engaged in unsafe, high-risk methods to avoid infection.

Some respondents indicated that they used bleach on various food items, including vegetables and fruit. In the same vein, others used household disinfectants and cleaners on their skin and hands. Similarly, some people admitted to spraying household disinfectants and cleaners on their bodies. Even more shocking are the results indicating that some people inhaled disinfectant and household cleaner vapors to prevent infection. There were even some who admitted to gargling or drinking disinfectants, cleaning solutions, soapy water or diluted bleach solutions.

Lack of knowledge about pandemic risks

A significant lack of knowledge is evident. The survey showed that many are unaware of the dangers of household cleaners and disinfectants. Most of the people who responded didn’t know that  bleach must be diluted with room-temperature water. The active ingredients in bleach become inactive when you make a solution of bleach and hot water. Using such a solution will be a waste of time.

Dangerous chemical reaction

About two-thirds of the online participants in the survey indicated a lack of knowledge about potentially dangerous chemical reactions. Some mixed bleach and vinegar when making solutions to protect themselves. Used on its own, bleach acts as a strong disinfectant.

Similarly, vinegar is an acid that kills fungi, mold and bacteria as it breaks down mineral deposits. Equally effective on its own. However, mixing the two substances can have tragic consequences. When you mix an acid like vinegar with bleach, a dangerous chemical reaction takes place. It creates chlorine gas, which is toxic, and high levels of the gas can cause death.

Sensible prevention methods

Millions of messages wherever you look, promote frequent hand washing and disinfecting high-touch areas. Regardless, millions of Americans overreact as they follow the media’s doom and gloom approach. My colleague Wes Cassel’s article, “You’re Going to be Exposed to the Coronavirus. So What?” published back in March might be precisely what the doctor ordered.

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