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This Is What Happens to Your Body if You Eat a Tide Pod

In short? It's not a good look.

By the time you’re a teen, you’re also old enough to determine the difference between food and soap. Yet some teens are making the decision to deliberately eat a Tide Pod, as part of “Tide Pod Challenge” sweeping social media. Despite the obvious foolishness of such an action, it seems that some people are left wondering what happens to your body if you eat a Tide Pod.

If you need an answer — nothing good.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 39 cases of intentional digestion of Tide Pods last year. Dr. Michael Lynch, M.D., medical director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center and AAPCC spokesperson explains that Tide Pods are considered poisonous, meaning that they can cause injury when consumed in large quantities.

Tide Pods are considered more dangerous than liquid detergent because they are concentrated — bottled detergents are diluted with water. If you do ingest, your first step should be to rinse your mouth out and then drink copious amounts of water to dilute the effects in your body and help them subside. Head to an emergency room ASAP if you experience trouble breathing or worsening symptoms.

Because kids were accidentally confusing Tide Pods with candy, the company began coating the pods with a substance known as Bitrex to create a very bitter deterrent. If you continue to keep the pod in your mouth, your body will respond with nausea and will likely cause you to vomit. If you don’t, you could inhale sharply and thereby temporarily block your airway until the coating dissolves.

In the event that you don’t vomit, your saliva will eventually break down the coating, releasing the inner gel liquid. The gel is made up of chemicals and detergents that will kill the pH balance in your mouth, creating a burning sensation. The burn is chemical, not physical and can last days. Once you spit out the liquid, your body’s immune system switches on, making your mouth swell up. The longer you hold the gel in your mouth, the more intense the swelling and burning situation.

If you swallow, then the chemical burns can go down your throat as well. And because most people cough or gasp or inhale, the pods can cause severe respiratory distress. You can also risk asphyxiating on your own vomit.

Most likely a grown up would have to inhale or ingest a lot of the liquid for it to kill you, which is why most deaths are amongst young children. There is a risk of seizures and coma.

In short, when it comes to trying to eat things for fun, make sure that they’re food first.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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