ATLANTA (CBS46) -- Experts are sounding the alarm on a new social media trend some people say will treat COVID-19.
“It’s terrifying to see this false information being spread. This is going to be dangerous,” said Atlanta physician Dr. Avi Varma.
Videos shared on Tik Tok, Facebook, and other social media platforms appear to show people inhaling a mixture of saline and 3% hydrogen peroxide with a nebulizer, a device typically used to treat asthma.
“Hydrogen peroxide therapy,” said one social media user. “You can just do it at home.”
Dr. Varma said she’s heard several stories about people ingesting hydrogen peroxide lately. She says it’s more of a threat than form of therapy.
“It’s toxic. It’s poisonous. And it can kill you,” she explained. “Hydrogen peroxide is typically used in the treatment of minor cuts and scrapes. It’s not meant to be used in any other way.”
One particularly concerning video gaining attention on Tik Tok appeared to show a toddler using a nebulizer to ingest hydrogen peroxide. The video has been removed from the social media platform, but images of the child continue to be spread online.
“Because of the properties of hydrogen peroxide, I suspect someone thought, ‘Well, if it can be used as a treatment preventing infection on the skin, maybe it can help in preventing viruses from affecting us like COVID-19,” said Dr. Varma.
As the trend spreads across social media, Atlanta pharmacist Dr. Kelly Howard also shares her concerns.
“It’s something taken out of context,” she said. “People are grasping at straws.
Dr. Howard said she’s bracing for more questions heading her way in the coming weeks. It’s a pattern she’s noticed every time a trendy, so-called “treatment” makes headlines.
“I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before we get those calls. People will be looking for it,” she explained.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is also bucking the trend, calling it “dangerous” and reminding people nebulizers should only be used for asthma medication prescribed by their physician.
Tik Tok says it’s working to remove content with misinformation.