This Video Shows Kids Exactly What Tide Pods Can Do to Their Bodies

Tide pod challenge
Chubbyemu/YouTube

Despite common sense telling us we shouldn't eat chemicals, and regardless of the repeated warnings that ingesting laundry detergent is extremely dangerous, teens still seem enamored by the Tide Pod challenge. As they continue to laugh at memes and share videos of those who are "brave" enough to taste what they are calling the "forbidden fruit," kids are ending up in the hospital. Since many don't get that there's nothing funny about this, a video on YouTube is going viral for showing exactly what participating in this challenge does to a teen's body -- in just a matter of seconds.

  • This viral video retells exactly what happened after a 17-year-old put three Tide Pods in his mouth.

    The narrator is a medical YouTuber who makes informative videos based on cases that he or his colleagues have seen. In his new video, this licensed provider retells the apparently real case of a 17-year-old boy called JR who ate three Tide Pods -- and breaks down exactly what this did to his body.

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  • JR's mom came running when she heard him retching in the kitchen.

    JR was set up near the sink for his attempt to become "social media"–famous because he planned on spitting the detergent out after biting into the pods. However, the narrator explained that JR never had the chance because of how quickly the detergent can do serious damage. 

    "He was suddenly overcome by a severe burning, numbing sensation on his tongue," the narrator described. "With his tongue paralyzed by the sensation, laundry detergent began to seep down into his throat. In his coughing fit, he aspirated some of the detergent into his trachea, corroding the tissue, compromising part of his airway as the liquid began to drip and ooze into his bronchi."

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  • She called 911 as his lips started to turn blue.

    JR was coughing, gagging, and vomiting, just trying to breathe, and his mom, Jane, had no idea what was going on. "With every cough, more and more detergent was lodged further and further into his airways of his lungs," the narrator described. "She sees him vomiting his gastric contents which come out with green and blue laundry detergent as he begins foaming at the mouth. As he collapses, he grips his chest and cries out in pain as he feels the detergent set fire to his esophagus down into his stomach."

  • JR was suffering from burning or corrosion of the tissue along the esophagus.

    There's a wide variability in the chemical composition of various laundry pods on the market, and the narrator explained that his mom didn't know which brand JR had consumed. But either way, it was bad news for JR. "These agents can be at least 100,000 times more basic than human blood and contact with surfaces like the esophagus induces liquefactive necrosis," the narrator explained. Basically, that means the molecules from the detergent can bind to the water and tissue in the esophagus and basically cause it to disintegrate.

  • But that was only one of his problems.

    During his coughing fits, JR aspirated tiny droplets of the concentrated detergent into his airway, and because the lungs also contain water and tissue, those cells were also "torn apart" by the detergent. This caused low oxygen in the blood, and on top of that, JR's heart rate doubled. "Without immediate airway management, he will go into into pulmonary arrest and die instantly," the narrator said. 

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  • All of this happens in the body because pods are so much more concentrated than liquid detergent.

    The narrator showed that it requires more than triple the amount of regular detergent to equal that of a Tide Pod. This means that kids aren't just chewing on standard detergent; they're putting extremely concentrated pouches into their body -- and it doesn't matter if it's just a bite. "There is no place in or on any part of the human body for any kind of laundry pod detergent. Ever," the narrator said.

  • There's no cure for laundry pod poisoning.

    The best thing that could be done for JR was supportive care to elevate some of his symptoms and monitor his progress. JR was intubated to prevent respiratory distress, given antibiotics and steroids to deal with the severe internal burns, and placed on a feeding tube through his nose in order to allow his esophagus to heal.

    "This was a tragic case that did not need to happen," the narrator concludes. "Make no mistake, one has absolutely nothing to gain from putting laundry detergent in their mouths and they have everything to lose instead."

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