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Home HEALTH Inhaling hydrogen peroxide to treat COVID is dangerous

Inhaling hydrogen peroxide to treat COVID is dangerous

A chemical often used to bleach hair in salons around the world should not be inhaled as a way to treat or prevent COVID-19, experts say.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is sounding the alarm about a “worrisome and dangerous” new trend currently making its way through social media channels.

Experts say that an increasing number of people on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have been “breathing hydrogen peroxide through nebulizers to try to prevent or treat COVID-19.” (Nebulizers are devices that turn liquid asthma medication into a mist that patients can inhale through a mask or mouthpiece.)

“This is dangerous,” the AAFA said in a press release last week.

The message was also shared on Twitter, set against a red background and topped off with an image of a skull, the universally understood symbol of danger.

Hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2, can be used as a cleaner and stain remover. However, it can also “cause tissue damage if swallowed or inhaled,” warns the AAFA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, H2O2 “can be toxic if ingested, inhaled, or in contact with the skin or eyes.”

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The normally colorless liquid is found in many homes in low concentrations (3-9%) for medicinal applications as well as for bleaching clothing and hair. In higher concentrations, it can be used to bleach textiles and paper; as a component of rocket fuels; and in the production of foam rubber and organic chemicals.

Inhalation of household concentration H2O2 (3%) can cause respiratory irritation, while inhalation of vapors from concentrated solutions (greater than 10%) can cause “severe lung irritation”.

The AAFA announcement comes just weeks after the US Food and Drug Administration reminded people that they should not use the deworming drug ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19.

Ivermectin tablets are approved by the FDA for the treatment of people with intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis, two conditions caused by parasitic worms. A topical (on the skin) form of the medication is also used to treat external parasites, such as head lice, and for skin conditions such as rosacea. Certain animal formulations of ivermectin are also approved to treat or prevent parasites in animals.

“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, everyone. Enough,” the FDA tweeted.

The tongue-in-cheek message came a day after the Mississippi State Department of Health sent a letter to health care providers across the state warning them of a “growing number of calls from people with possible exposure to ivermectin taken to treat or prevent COVID-19 infection. ”

Health officials said “at least 70% of the recent calls” they received were related to the ingestion of “livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased from livestock supply centers.”


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