Hydrogen peroxide, the stuff sitting under your kitchen sink, may be a life-saver

I've long known about hydrogen peroxide's antibacterial properties.  When I was a kid, my mother always had a bottle of Gly-Oxide in the house for cold sores, bitten tongues, and other minor mouth ailments.  And since I'm a bit nervous about E. coli and salmonella (long, irrelevant story), I usually have some vinegar and hydrogen peroxide under the kitchen sink for rinsing fruits and vegetables.

Recently, I got a letter from a friend about the fact that both he and his wife had pneumonia that wouldn't retreat even with a hospital stay and antibiotics.  What finally ended the pneumonia was a nebulizer with saline solution and food-grade hydrogen peroxide.

Intrigued, I investigated and discovered myriad articles (purportedly from doctors) discussing hydrogen peroxide and respiratory health (e.g., Nebulizing Hydrogen Peroxide for Respiratory Health and Dr. Mercola's Nebulized Hydrogen Peroxide — A Simple Remedy for COVID-19, from March 2021).

However, and this is very important, I also discovered mainstream media articles, complete with quotations from doctors, saying that whatever you do, don't nebulize hydrogen peroxide.  This September 2021 Reuters article is a good example:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not list hydrogen peroxide as a treatment for COVID-19 (here).

Hydrogen peroxide is traditionally used for minor cuts and scrapes (here).

These rumors prompted organizations like the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) (www.aafa.org/about-aafa.aspx) to post an advisory on their website, seen bit.ly/3APNtWa and on the organization's Facebook page (here) warning against inhaling hydrogen peroxide. "DO NOT put hydrogen peroxide into your nebulizer and breathe it in. This is dangerous. It is not a way to prevent nor treat COVID-19," they warned, in response to the social media trend.

According to AAFA, "Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a cleaner and stain remover and can cause tissue damage if you swallow it or breathe it in." The organization cites toxicology records (here) from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.


Dr Jamie Alan, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University told Health.com, "Hydrogen peroxide is a free radical, meaning it's an unstable atom that can damage cells. If it's inhaled, it goes to the lungs where it can damage cell membranes."

Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, shared Alan's sentiment. Dr. Galiatsatos told Reuters via phone that claims regarding hydrogen peroxide as an effective treatment for COVID-19 "are all false."

At this point, I was stymied.  Do I believe the traditional medical establishment, or do I trust random people, including random doctors, giving their opinion on the internet?  Once upon a time, trusting the medical establishment would have been a no-brainer.  Now, though, given that the establishment hasn't covered itself with glory and has aggressively rejected any early treatment for COVID...let's say my trust is diminished.  Still, those warnings are scary.

Image: Hydrogen peroxide model.  Public domain.

However, with hydrogen peroxide now stuck in my brain like a burr, I was fascinated to learn that a recent medical study identifies aerosolized hydrogen peroxide (presumably the food-grade kind) as a new weapon in the war against one of the most pernicious infectious diseases in care facilities such as skilled nursing facilities or old age homes:

New data published today suggest that adding aerosolized hydrogen peroxide (aHP) to hospital infection prevention protocols can effectively reduce Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI), one of the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), among patients in large, acute-care facilities. The findings, which offer the first, long-term evaluation of an aHP disinfection system for reducing CDI in a clinical setting, appear in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), the journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

"Our study showed that persistence in utilizing an aerosolized hydrogen peroxide system had a significant impact on reducing C. difficile infections hospital-wide," said Christopher L. Truitt, Ph.D., Wayland Baptist University, and the paper's lead author.

Individuals infected with C. difficile can be asymptomatic or have symptoms ranging from mild diarrhea to severe and life-threatening inflammation of the colon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Joint Commission, C. difficile is responsible for 223,000 HAIs resulting in more than 12,000 deaths and $6.3 billion in costs in the United States annually.

Why do I hear echoes of stories about hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin in the above report?  Could it be that's because it involves a commonly available, affordable substance that seems to have amazing properties but that is completely frowned upon by the establishment, especially when it comes to treating COVID before a hospital stay is necessary?

Given the warnings against inhaling hydrogen peroxide, I'm not about to start sucking it in on a daily basis.  However, I am going to keep an eagle eye out for medical journal studies announcing that hydrogen peroxide does indeed have anti-viral properties.  I'm willing to bet that the odds are good that precisely such an article will appear in the next year.

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