A medical professional explains why consuming laundry pods is so dangerous
It doesn’t take a medical professional to know that eating actual laundry detergent could mean some pretty adverse health outcomes, but since it looks like kids are still hopping on this ridiculously dangerous bandwagon, we might need to get a little scientific in our lectures about why eating poison is a horrible idea.
Luckily, a healthcare provider created a video to show kids and teens exactly what happens when they eat a laundry pod — spoiler alert? It’s nothing good.
Medical YouTuber Chubbyemu’s latest video is all about the current (and extremely bizarre) trend of kids trying to eat Tide Pods. No one understands it, but every parent is worried their child might be the next to attempt this insanely dangerous stunt. That’s why this video is a must-watch if your kid is old enough to pry a container open and give it a try.
The video describes and reenacts a real situation where an anonymous teen ate three laundry pods at once. The narration is full of medical terminology that gives a complete explanation of what laundry pods can do to the body.
The narrator says, “In the coughing fit, he aspirated some of the detergent into his trachea, corroding the tissue, compromising his airway as the liquid began to drip and ooze into his bronchi.”
His mother found him vomiting and saw the deflated laundry pods nearby. She called poison control and they told her to give her son water, but his lips were turning blue. She ended up calling 911.
The narrator explains several complex possibilities for the teen’s condition, all related to whatever brand of laundry pod he ingested. He says that all have a different chemical makeup, with some being more alkaline, more strongly basic when combined with water. They can be 100 times more basic than human blood, which can cause the esophagus to basically melt, in layman’s terms.
In short, none of the outcomes are good, no matter the brand of laundry pod. His mom couldn’t remember what brand was in her home.
The narrator explains that the reason something as seemingly innocuous as a small pod of laundry soap can cause so much damage is the fact that it’s so concentrated. Think about how much liquid detergent we dump into a washing machine — a laundry pod carries the same cleaning power in a much smaller amount.
He gives a detailed explanation of the detergent’s makeup and what it means when coming into contact with the teen’s esophagus. Basically, the detergent has a component that latches onto water and another part that latches onto tissue. The detergent molecule is then strong enough to latch onto the esophagus cells and tear them open.
Because of the tissue injury in his esophagus, the boy started coughing violently which is what caused him to aspirate some of the detergent droplets into his trachea and entered his bronchi. The detergent was in his airways. The moisture in his lungs meant the cells were torn apart by the detergent. It caused his lungs to be stripped of their cell lining as the tissue began to die.
The narrator gives a long and technical explanation as to why hand soaps, lotions, and other products can touch our bodies, while laundry detergent is so harmful, but, TL;DR, it’s meant to remove grease and stains. That means there’s no part of the human body where it would be safe to ingest or come into contact with it.
As for the anonymous teen’s situation post-laundry pod ingestion? There’s no cure for it. Only supportive care to alleviate symptoms and make him more comfortable while his body tries to heal. All the medical staff could do is intubate him to prevent respiratory arrest. Severe burns to his esophagus meant he also required antibiotics and corticosteroids to limit inflammation. He was unable to swallow and needed to be fed intravenously or through a tube. His body needed to heal on the inside before he could eat.
With good and timely care, the boy was able to survive the incident and recover completely from his injuries. In the end, the narrator doesn’t mince words — there was simply no reason for this awful ordeal to happen.
If they haven’t already been convinced, maybe this video will be enough to stop other kids and teens from making the same potentially fatal mistake.