Michigan poison control calls jump after Trump’s disinfectant remarks

The Michigan Poison Center says there’s been an uptick in poison control calls as families have used more cleaning supplies during the pandemic. (Shutterstock image)

LANSING — Don’t drink Lysol or bleach, please.

Michigan health officials issued the reminder after poison control calls jumped following President Donald Trump’s public speculation last week over whether disinfectants could be used to clean out human bodies and treat COVID-19.

The Michigan Poison Center, run by Wayne State University, had already seen an uptick in similar calls since families have used more cleaning supplies during the pandemic, but there “has been a definite increase” since the president’s Thursday evening briefing, community outreach educator Denise Kolakowski told Bridge Magazine on Monday.


Between Friday and Sunday, there were 65 poison center calls about exposure to household cleaning substances, including 16 calls about bleach and nine calls about disinfectants, according to data from the center. That was up about 86 percent from the prior weekend and 55 percent over the same span last year.

All told, there were 184 calls about industrial or household cleaning products last week, up from 119 calls for the week ending April 18, Kolakowski said.

There’s been a “slight increase” in calls from residents simply seeking information about cleaning products, but “the majority of the calls that we get are regarding people who have some type of exposure,” she said. “That could mean they got it in their eye or that they’ve accidentally swallowed it or it’s been on their skin for some period in time.”

In a White House press briefing last week, Trump said that disinfectants can “knock out” the coronavirus when used to clean surfaces and speculated whether they could be used as an “injection inside, or almost a cleaning” of the body. 

The president later said he was being “sarcastic” and complained about media coverage of his comments. But Lysol, a popular cleaning supply company, was compelled to issue a public warning against ingestion, and public officials in Illinois, New York and Maryland have also reported an increase in poison control calls. 

Michigan officials had attributed previous upticks in exposure calls to children forced to stay home during the lockdown. In some cases, parents have wiped their children with disinfectant, which can cause skin irritation or even burning in infants. In other cases, children are ingesting hand sanitizer or cleaning chemicals purchased by adults. 

“You turn your back, and kids are fast,” Dr. Cynthia Aaron, the center’s medical director, told Bridge Magazine last week. 

But weekend calls to the Michigan Poison Center were not limited to children, according to data from managing director Varun Vohra, an assistant professor in WSU’s department of emergency medicine. 

Of the 65 calls about exposure to household cleaning supplies, 27 involved “unintentional exposures” to children 10 or younger, she said. There were also six unintentional exposures of children to hand sanitizer.

“No way of confirming this, but with increased media exposure, more individuals may be purchasing/keeping larger stocks and quantities of cleaning agents, which inherently heightens risk of unintentional exposures in the pediatric population,” Vohra said in an email to Bridge. 

All told, the poison control center fielded 476 total exposure calls between Friday and Sunday, 

That was up about 11 percent from 427 the prior weekend, according to Vohra. Calls involving exposure to household and industrial cleaners jumped 61 percent, while total calls about cleaning products (including those seeking information only) were up 89 percent.

The Michigan Poison Center urged residents to read any directions on industrial or household cleaning products before using them. If recommended on the packaging, users should wear gloves or open windows to dilute fumes. 

“Keep in mind that these products are never to be used on the body or inside of the body for disinfection or any type of disease prevention,” Kolakowski  said. “They’re not intended for that. They’re intended only for use on surfaces in the homes or in businesses.” 

New York City’s health department said this weeked that calls about exposure to Lysol, bleach and other cleaning products increased in an 18-hour period following Trump’s briefing, more than doubling compared to the same span the prior year.

In Illinois, Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike said there had been a “significant increase” in poison control calls since Thursday, telling reporters that one person even tried to gargle mouthwash mixed with bleach.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan shared similar accounts Sunday in interviews on ABC’s This Week. 

“We have seen an increase in numbers of people calling poison control, and so I think it’s really important that every one of us with a platform disseminate medically accurate information,” said Whitmer, a Democrat. “I want to say, unequivocally no one should be using disinfectant, to digest it to fight COVID-19. Please don’t do it. Just don’t do it.”

Hogan, a Republican, added: “When misinformation comes out, or you just say something that pops in your head, it does send a wrong message.”

Maryland has seen “hundreds of calls come into our emergency hotline at our health department asking if it was right to ingest Clorox or alcohol cleaning products — whether that was going to help them fight the virus,” Hogan said.


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Dave N
Mon, 04/27/2020 - 3:08pm

Just another Jonathan O Hit piece. At least he’s consistent.

Head shake
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 6:00am

You seem to think Trump is the Great Wizard of Oz "Never mind the man behind the curtain!"

Wed, 04/29/2020 - 8:57am

It's a tough time to run for office as a Republicon who feels forced to embrace Trump, but probably more difficult for all Republicons.

Funny when you take a closer look:


Trump, Stable Genius
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 7:41am

Hold up! It's not a hit piece. It works. Ever since My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "a lotta people" have seen great results. I say, "Watta ya hav ta lose? Just try it." And no, you IDIOTS, I meant WINDEX. I was being sarcastic, if you were so dumb to think I meant Lysol. Geez louise fake media!


Don't let the t...
Mon, 04/27/2020 - 3:36pm


This from a generation of fools video recording themselves eating Tide Pods.

Want to see Covid-19 disappear overnight? Just start the rumor (or - 'news story' from 'anonymous sources') that the 2020 election is being canceled due to the virus. *POOF* - Damn the facemasks!!

Trump Generation
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 6:09am

Trump literally said he wanted the researchers to study injecting disinfectants into people to kill the virus (inferring in the lungs) because those disinfectants work so well outside the body on hard surfaces, like countertops (where they were meant to be used). So yeah it's no surprise that the Tide Pod challenge is popular now that Trump is president. It's probably a combination of his crazy leadership and in part their seeing no future so hopeless that they are attempting suicide. Things have not been looking good these last three years: children in cages, teetering on nuclear wars, climate catastrophes, plagues, a fake economic boom, massive national debt. It's all very biblical. God is angry.

post a link. I...
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 2:09pm

OK - since you want to lie for the sake of your delusion. Post the link to a video of Trump saying he wants people in "Inject disinfectants."
I'll wait.

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 8:30pm

No, Trump did not "literally say" people should be injecting disinfectants, Obama put the kids in the cages, we are not teetering on nuclear wars and the economic boom that you call a "fake" sure as hell helped out millions of people. The only thing "biblical" is your ignorance.

Peggy Sue
Wed, 04/29/2020 - 5:07pm

Trump did say to look into ways that light and disinfectants could kill the virus in people's bodies. Turns out, there is a treatment that that NIH says is "the cure that time forgot". It's called ultraviolet blood irradiation treatments. This might be yet another genius way Trump's random ideas lead to thousands of people living. Of course, many liberals and fascists and communists want to suppress this research so more people die, so they're pushing a different story out there. Use your brain and open your eyes.

Kevin Grand
Mon, 04/27/2020 - 5:42pm

It's a shame that what passes for an objective, "non-partisian" media reported comments out of context, and then act all shocked at the results of their failure to perform the most basic aspect of their job.

Truth matters
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 6:13am

We have eyes and ears. There is video of the press conference. By "nonpartisan" do you mean "don't report the news"? Can you describe Trump's press conference on disinfectant use in a more nonpartisan way for us? We'd like to hear your take, or should we just watch FUX News for some interesting spin?

middle of the mit
Sun, 05/03/2020 - 6:04am

This expert is talking about viruses on surfaces of inanimate non porous surfaces.

NOT humans!

Here kAren. SEE the REAL VIDEO! You know, the reason that YOU WON'T REPLY TO MY POSTS!


Just after the video you posted and the questions are directed toward the guy that just got off the stand! Do you hear the Presidents words? Do you see who he is directing his questions to?

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!

Tell the folks at Mackinaw I said HI!!!

And they better send someone smarter than you!

middle of the mit
Sun, 05/03/2020 - 6:13am

Talk about things being taken out of context?

YOU won't even post the Presidents words!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!

Keith Jenkins
Mon, 04/27/2020 - 9:18pm

I am just guessing the increase in calls to the Poison Center were because people were listening to what the media said about what he said. Things like "Trump says drink Lysol" If they had actually listened to the news conference objectively they would have known.

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 6:24am

People are dying and can't get tested. They are desperate and the president is offering his typical snake oil medical advice daily. Of course people are trying whatever he suggests. Maybe they are spraying their grocery produce with Lysol or spraying a room with it and breathing it in to kill the COVID19 that may be in their lungs. The point is that the president is a reckless idiot who should be removed from office, 25th Amendment. Fortunately his handlers have convinced him that his endless daily rants of nonsense are hurting is reelection efforts and those of his GOP sycophants. So hopefully he will shut his fat trap for a while. We can only hope. Not sure why anyone was watching those political rallies anyway. Fauci was lucky if he could speak for five minutes and he's the only one anyone wanted to hear.

middle of the mit
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 2:15am

Being taken out of context is when President Barack Obama says:
"That road, in front of your business? You didn't build that." And you hear:
"Your business? You didn't build that.


That is video .

He just heard for the first time that you can use Lysol and bleach to kill germs and viruses. And that certain UV light will also kill germs. But to be fair, why would he ever know those things? He doesn't clean anything, he has people who did it for him.

The problem is that Lysol takes 15 minutes.

He wasn't asking a sarcastic question. He was directing questions to the experts. Watch the video. Or is it perception?

On another note, Blade has perfected the method for getting UV light into a Bullet. We just need to have more space and equipment to ramp up production. We are also looking for someone who can supply us with the necessary amount of ingredients. Should we go to the Governor of MI or should we go to the the Leader of our nation? The most power full man in the world?

What was it you said about Obama? Oh yeah. He led from behind.

To Governor Gretchen we go!

Is that sarcastic?

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 6:26am

Yeah, what joker that Trump is. What a time to be sarcastic, Trump's explanation, not mine! He's the dumbest most embarrassing president ever.

Sad Days for USA
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 6:28am

All this makes me wonder if Trump started the whole Tide Pod Challenge.

Paul Russell
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 9:03am

Those stupid enough to do this should be told to do it. We don't need people that stupid amongst us.
Gestapo Whitmer can be the first......

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 1:17pm

So you finally admit Trump was not being sarcastic, just an idiot. We appreciate your candor. Refreshing.

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 9:07am

More brain damaged trump sheeps!!! And they blame it on the media for reporting what trump said!!!

Post it "Don"
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 2:11pm

Post the video where "Trump literally said this." This should be fun!

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 9:10am

On April 9th iheart Radio Wood out of Grand Rapids reported higher poison control calls because people improperly using poisons in place of hand santizers and etc. :)

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 12:12pm

What's the problem? This is evolution at work strengthening the species!

To Hypocrite Matt
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 1:20pm

THAT from Matt who claims to be a Christian.

J Hendricks
Tue, 04/28/2020 - 2:30pm

Darwin Award contenders.

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 5:54pm

If you're stupid enough to do this then maybe its natural selection taking place. People have beome so damn stupid. Didnt your mothers ever teach you just because your friends jump off a bridge doesnt mean you have to anymore!!!!????

Wed, 04/29/2020 - 10:58am

People are so dumb. The President was mildly suggesting that the medical community look into the possibility of ultraviolet blood irradiation treatments, or variations of it. He assumed that people knew what he was talking about so he used shorthand and simple language ('sunlight' and 'bleach'), but he was referencing a treatment that was extensively used in the 1940s and 1950s to treat many diseases including septicemia, pneumonia, tuberculosis, arthritis, asthma and even poliomyelitis. The process of UBI draws a small amount of blood from a person, then passes the blood through UV light. The blood is then returned to the patient. The NIH calls it “the cure that time forgot”- Trump once again shows his genius and incredible mental powers by remembering this treatment and renewing interest in it. It's a shame that the media is reporting something different.

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 9:56am

There is a medical procurement that injects disinfectant into the bloodstream. It uses Ethel Alcohol (may you heard of that chemical). They raise the blood alcohol content to .23-.28 (Near Dead Drunk) as a treatment for Antifreeze Poisoning (Ethylene Glycol). The Blood (hemoglobin) prefer to grab onto the Alcohol over the Antifreeze and protect the liver from being destroyed and the antifreeze passess through the body.