This is what eating a Tide Pod can do to your body

By now, you’ve likely heard about the dangerous trend of the Tide Pod Challenge. Believe it or not, people—including teens and kids—are filming themselves eating Tide laundry detergent pods and then posting the videos to social media. As you might imagine, the pods are not safe for consumption. In fact, eating the pods can lead to some pretty devastating consequences for your health.

This should be obvious but, despite their colorful appearance, laundry pods do not taste like candy or anything else delicious. As soon as someone bites into a laundry detergent pod, the problems begin. Most people will begin to cough and gag when the detergent hits their tongue thanks to its bitter, chemical taste. Next, if you do manage to swallow the detergent, it can burn the esophagus or stomach and cause gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea.

tide pod photo
Flickr | JeepersMedia

“That’s why the body typically immediately revolts and people vomit, because the stomach is burning,” Dr. Jana L. Anderson, pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told BuzzFeed News.

Another risk is if any of the detergent gets into your eyes, it can burn the eye and cause damage to your vision. If you inhale the detergent while swallowing or vomiting, that can lead to dangerous respiratory distress. The dangers of ingesting harmful chemicals go far beyond just tasting bad and making you sick to your stomach.

“Other very concentrated chemicals in detergent can cause sleepiness, or even coma—it’s unusual but there have been deaths in small children, but that’s less likely in a teenager. There are chemicals—ethoxylated alcohols, surfactant—which cause severe effects on the lungs and other areas of the body, and likely cause shortness of breath or death in the case of small children,” Dr. Ivan Miller, director of the Emergency Departments at Westchester Medical Center in New York, told Teen Vogue.

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If someone has ingested the contents of a laundry pod, Miller recommended calling 911 or going straight to the hospital if they show severe symptoms. If the symptoms are not severe, he suggested calling a doctor or local poison control center. On its own website, Tide suggests anyone who has swallowed a pod to drink a glass of water or milk immediately and not to induce vomiting. The company suggests calling poison control as soon as possible.

In short, eating laundry detergent pods is extremely dangerous, and should be not be attempted under any circumstances.