CDC warns sniffing disinfectants and bleaching skin won't prevent COVID-19

Many people are experiencing health anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic and adopting enhanced hygiene practices in an effort to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus. The CDC has looked into the best preventative practices and detailed them in a new report, but has also found that some people are taking extreme, dangerous measures in a futile effort to protect themselves.

On Friday, June 5, the CDC published its May 2020 report on the best practices regarding the use of disinfectants and other household cleaning supplies for preventing COVID-19. Public health authorities have been preaching to frequently wash one's hands with soap and water since the start of the outbreak, but some people, it turns out, are taking things to an extreme.

Using an Internet survey, the CDC found that around one-third of the people who responded have used bleach on foods in an effort to disinfect them; as well, these people report having scrubbed their skin with disinfectants and bleach, and, in the most horrifying case, they say they've either drank these cleaners or deliberately sniffed their fumes.

The CDC is encouraging officials to arrange public messaging that emphasizes the safe, effective ways to protect against the novel coronavirus with these cleaning supplies — ones that, obviously, do not involve sniffing or drinking them. In these cases, the agency warns, individuals are putting themselves at extreme risk.

What should you do to help protect yourself? The CDC says that you should wear protective gear when using disinfectants, avoid mixing these chemicals, and follow the instructions on the bottle. As far as the pandemic goes, the public is still advised to wear face masks in public, frequently wash their hands with soap and water, and to avoid crowds and close contact with others.