In the Covid-19 pandemic, Donald Trump had various ideas on how to protect yourself from Sars-CoV-2. The problem: They were life-threatening. Just like the ideas some people had during previous epidemics.
- Fee Anabelle Riebeling
Special situations require special measures. That’s what it says.
But when it comes to fighting viruses, it is better to choose classic means.
This is shown by the case of a woman from Taiwan who died during the Sars pandemic in 2002/2003 while trying to disinfect her body with 40.5 percent ethanol.
When Donald Trump, at that time still President of the USA, thought out loud about whether you could simply inject disinfectants to protect people from corona or channel UV light into their bodies, many experts caught their breath. You knew this could be eye-catching. The manufacturers of “sanitizers” also warned.
And indeed: The head of state’s idiosyncratic ideas brought at least 30 people to it, once to try out.
Dead in the bathtub
A case from the past shows that such self-therapies can quickly end fatally. For example, during the Sars pandemic in 2002/2003, a 45-year-old woman died trying to disinfect her body with 40.5 percent ethanol, according to Iflscience.com. Instead, the Taiwanese woman bathed in the alcohol.
“She lay in the liquid from around 11 p.m., believing that Sars could prevent this, and was found dead by her family at around 11 a.m. the next day,” says the journal “Forensic Science International” published Case report. The cause of death was: alcohol poisoning. When found, the woman had a blood alcohol level of 1.35 percent. Even 0.4 percent can be fatal.
Combination of several factors
According to calculations by the study authors, the woman must have consumed 1.5 liters of the alcohol for a value of 1.35 percent. But how? After all, the head of the casualty was above the surface of the water when she was found. This makes it highly unlikely that the 45-year-old has swallowed large amounts of alcohol. She also showed no signs of trauma, drug use, or drowning.
The scientists therefore concluded that the woman must have inhaled the alcohol or absorbed it through the skin. “Ethanol can be absorbed through the skin, but skin absorption poisoning is rare, especially in adults,” they write. But it is conceivable that “she inhaled some alcohol, which accelerated the poisoning. In addition, above a certain blood alcohol level, she would have found it difficult to climb out of the bathtub. The authors recommend that you always consult a doctor before taking such measures.
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