Fact Check

Drinking Bleach Protects Against Ebola?

Will drinking or injecting bleach protect you against Ebola?

Published Oct. 21, 2014


Claim:   Drinking or injecting bleach will protect you against Ebola.


Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2014]

I saw an article on FB about Ebola and that taking bleach orally or
injecting into your blood stream can cure it. I find this highly
unlikely. But, someone posted it and I am concerned someone might try it.

There is a post going around facebook that you can drink 200ml of
bleach to completely cleanse your system of ebola and prevent from ever
getting it. This doesn't really sound like a good idea but was wondering
if it was true.


Origins:   The Internet is typically full of fool's errands, japes that seek to lure the gullible into attempting a completely pointless or ridiculous act in the mistaken belief that it will produce some beneficial effect. In the wake of the 2014 Ebola scare, one such prank widely spread via social media — as seemingly

silly as it was — carried the potential for causing great harm to those who might fall for it.

The joke, typically circulated in the form of the image shown above, held that one could "become immune to the deadly Ebola virus" by drinking 200ml or injecting 20ml of common liquid household bleach, noting that the substance may be a strong disinfectant but "is totally harmless to us humans" and asserting that a dose of bleach will clear "all Ebola in your system and prevent any more getting in." The infographic concludes with a line commonly found in advertisements for various health products of dubious efficacy, "It's the one secret Big Pharma doesn't want you to know!"

The fact is that bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is neither "totally harmless to us humans" nor does it have any preventative effect in regards to the Ebola virus. It is a caustic agent that when taken internally, either by ingestion or injection, can be extremely dangerous. Swallowing sodium hypochlorite in diluted form may cause only mild stomach irritation, but in larger amounts it can produce more serious symptoms, including burns on the esophagus, stomach and abdominal pain, and even delirium or coma.

Last updated:   21 October 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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