A recent post on Cristina Cuomo's blog Purist in which she said that she was adding bleach to her bathwater has experts shaking their heads.
Dr. Jennifer Gunter, known for her scathing criticism of Gwynneth Paltrow's brand Goop, tweeted her surprise in response to a share of Cuomo's article about her bathing habits.
Cristina has been chronicling her family's experience with the virus on her blog and Instagram. Her husband, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, contracted the virus first, with Cristina becoming infected 2 weeks later.
The couple revealed on Wednesday that their 14-year-old son Mario has also become ill.
The Cuomos have both been open about their family's experience with the virus, with Chris giving updates on CNN while continuing to work from home. These included an interview with his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, about the importance of social distancing and the difficulties of self-quarantine at home with a family.
Cristina has continued to describe her family's experiences even after falling ill herself.
Cuomo's post includes quite a bit of pseudoscience, including references to phone/wifi radiation as being harmful to the body. She also cites a Mayo Clinic article about using a diluted bleach solution to treat eczema to support her decision to bathe in bleach to "combat the radiation and metals in my system and oxygenate it."
She also heavily quoted Linda Lancaster, a "Board Certified Naturopathic Physician and Homeopath" (a professional peer board of like minded individuals who declared themselves "doctors" of things like light and energy medicine and crystal healing) who is associated with Goop, in her post.
"We are all exposed to radiation (phone/Wi-Fi) and that agitates our cells. We have never recommended the baths as any type of cure. We utilize this bath to aid the body in the detox process of chemicals and environmental pollutants."
Many people on Twitter were very confused about Cuomo's decision to bathe in something like Clorox.
Among them was gynecologist Dr. Jennifer Gunter, who has been quite vocal in her criticism of others who promote pseudoscience in medicine.
I still don’t understand how this isn’t parody. I just can’t even. https://t.co/5p8fYzI5dw— Jennifer Gunter (@Jennifer Gunter)1587668543.0
Many others were confused or upset by Cuomo's suggestions as well.
@DrJenGunter Why are there so many people out there who think bleach is a miracle cure all for all that ails them?!?!— Sarah F. (@Sarah F.)1587669777.0
@DrJenGunter The older I get, the more I'm convinced stuff like this comes from teaching science as just a collecti… https://t.co/CmTVqH9QHb— Surgical Grade Bleach (@Surgical Grade Bleach)1587680477.0
Some resorted to pure snark at the ridiculousness of Cuomo's advice.
@DrJenGunter She's gone full Gwyneth. Never go full Gwyneth. Or even a quarter Gwyneth, really.— Bee Anders (@Bee Anders)1587670012.0
@DrJenGunter In these trying times, don't forget that Dunning-Krueger is out for blood.— Greg Hallock (@Greg Hallock)1587668686.0
@bridgetgillard I'm a swimmer who misses chlorine so I might take a bath in chemicals today just for nostalgia.— Laurie Kilmartin (@Laurie Kilmartin)1587670919.0
@DrJenGunter OMG, Did she just make... pool water? 🤦🏼♀️— Serena (@Serena)1587668811.0
@ArdentSerena @DrJenGunter Waaaaay more than pool water. If it’s a 50 gal tub. My calc would easily be about 80 pp… https://t.co/lol7q3Sltw— Anthony DeSalvo, MD (@Anthony DeSalvo, MD)1587682865.0
@bridgetgillard "On Tuesday and Wednesday, when my sinus congestion was painful, I enlisted Dr. Roxanna Namavar fro… https://t.co/vneaxgZ9Bn— Mr. Grimm (@Mr. Grimm)1587665324.0
Some just chose to apply actual science to the situation.
@bridgetgillard The doctor she quotes as saying bleach in the bath will take out ‘heavy metals’ & help fight coron… https://t.co/23AKFoG1fn— Kaz Cooke (@Kaz Cooke)1587701378.0
@DrJenGunter That's not how chlorination of water works. That's not what it does. I mean, what?— A Shiny Blue Thing Collected By a Bird (@A Shiny Blue Thing Collected By a Bird)1587668805.0
@undiscoversoul @DrJenGunter Yeah, I want to tell her that the way to oxygenate blood (outside of the hospital) is… https://t.co/FidOMqFZbw— Peahen (@Peahen)1587686869.0
Even Clorox's website is pretty clear on whether bathing in bleach is a good idea or not.
Using bleach to treat drinking water in an emergency is relatively safe, but that is a very small amount and not the same as bathing in a tub full of it.
"Clorox® Regular Bleach2 is NOT recommended for personal hygiene of any kind–consumers should always avoid direct skin and eye contacts with both undiluted bleach, as well as prolonged contact with the various bleach solutions we recommend for household cleaning and laundry."
A New York infectious disease specialist who wished to remain anonymous told HuffPost that bathing in bleach was definitely not a good idea, and said the practice was "not mainstream or evidence-based medicine." The doctor highlighted that doing so would most likely cause more harm than good.
"In high concentrations, bleach can be noxious and irritant to your skin. If you've ever touched concentrated bleach, you know it can be a skin irritant."
The best thing for killing the virus is good old soap and water, which experts have been saying since the outbreak began.
Bottom line: use the bleach to clean your bathtub, but don't bathe in bleach water.