What Happens To Your Body When You Drink Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide, also known as the stuff your parents used to pour on your knees any time you crashed your bike, is pretty ubiquitous. You can find it in just about any grocery store or pharmacy. Does it say that you shouldn't swallow it right there on the bottle? You bet it does. But accidents happen. 

According to Poison.org, small, small amounts of store-bought hydrogen peroxide won't do much more than make your stomach upset. Your standard bottle is highly diluted, containing only 3% of hydrogen peroxide, and hair bleach has between 6 and 10%.

Is it going to make you puke? Probably, yes. In those concentrations, your stomach will likely swell up and make you vomit foam. But with proper hydration you or your child should be fine, assuming the amount and concentration was small enough.

More reasons to not drink peroxide

On the other hand, if you've had a larger quantity, you'll need to get some treatment, and a hospital trip is going to be in the cards. Depending on the concentration and quantity, you could wind up with anything from serious gut irritation to a potential life-threatening issue.

In higher concentrations, H2O2 can really mess you up. Food-grade hydrogen peroxide, which ironically you absolutely should not ingest, will burn the living peanuts out of your stomach lining. A particularly gruesome medical horror story from the National Capital Poison Center describes an 82-year old woman being fed (read: poisoned with) 32% hydrogen peroxide by her homeopath husband. After fifteen days in the ICU with stomach and intestinal bleeding, difficulty breathing, and irregular brain function, she passed away.