Toxicologists in the United States have stated their concerns over the use of home-made remedies as treatment for the COVID-19 illness as more reports of people getting poisoned as they took matters into their own hand had increased.
Some people are said to have tried some dangerous DIY combinations in an attempt to treat, prevent or even cure the respiratory illness.
The hype that Hydroxychloroquine received under the previous administration was tremendous as numerous social-media campaigns were launched by conspiracy theorists leading to people stock piling the drug or generally abusing it.
Different social network companies such as Twitter and Facebook had to step in to fight the unproven method of combating the pandemic as the WHO or CDC never released an official statement that the Hydroxychloroquine was the cure of COVID-19.
Forget the fact that former President Trump made reference to the use of bleach in curing the coronavirus illness, doctors also made it known that some people went to the point of using unproven and even dangerous methods in an attempt to combat the illness which continues to spread across the globe like a wildfire.
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“Poison centers are still responding to events related to COVID-19,” said Julie Weber, president of the American Association of Poison Control Centers and director of the Missouri Poison Center. “On average, we are getting over 40 to 50 calls per day in addition to what we would normally get pre-pandemic.”
Weber also said that threats continues to change as there have been an increase in the number of calls for invermectin — a drug used to treat parasite infections that people began trying as a COVID-19 remedy.
There haven’t been any official statement as to whether this drug is safe to treat the COVID-19 without an adverse side-effect.
“We just had a case of someone using a veterinary source of ivermectin, a horse medication, that contains a significantly larger dose of the drug.”
With this huge surge in the number of people self-medicating to fight off the illness, health experts continue to send out warnings to the general public telling them to be careful about where they get medical information from and also to rely only on proven treatments and therapies which are recommended by federal agencies such as the CDC and the FDA as well as doctors.
Experts also warn against trusting companies that are offering dubious cures. Since January, the FDA has delivered warning letters to at least four companies for allegedly peddling unproven COVID-19 therapies — from tea to tinctures.
The number of daily calls to poison centers for exposure to cleaners or disinfectants have increased by nearly 20% since March of 2020. Bleach exposure is one of such according to the CDC – Do not ingest Bleaches, it’s dangerous and poisonous.
Weber said calls linked to bleaches, hand sanitizers and cleaning products are still up, and sanitizers continue to be of particular concern.
“People are drinking hand sanitizer” and “taking almost any kind of cleaner or sterilant and using it on their skin because they think it will kill the virus, but these substances can be harmful to people as well,” said Dr. Joshua Nogar, the medical toxicology fellowship director at Northwell Health and an emergency medicine physician.
The FDA had also warned people about toxic, imported hand sanitizers which are dangerous if consumed.
“There have been some notable, very unfortunate occurrences of people who have fatally ingested pool cleaner because they were told it could kill COVID-19,” Nogar told ABC News.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been numerous fraudulent activities by some dubious organizations who have been making dangerous chemicals in the name of hand sanitizers all of which the WHO as well as the FDA are both investigating.
False information about the pandemic with different conspiracy theories about Bill Gates wanting to turn everyone into zombies or implant some mind-controlling chips via the mass vaccination are some of the dangerous claims by these conspiracy theorists.
The World Health Organization has an entire webpage dedicated to debunking at-home remedies.
“There is so much information available to us, and no accountability for ‘facts’ that are being put out there,” Nogar said. “We should take all of the information that we consume on the internet with a grain of salt.”
“Everyone is desperate for a cure,” explained Dr. Nima Majlesi, the director of medical toxicology at Staten Island University Hospital and an emergency medicine physician, but “there is no such thing as completely eliminating our risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”
Majlesi also added the importance for people to be aware of what they’re consuming as well as weighing the potential risks with a licensed medical practitioner.
“There are things that have been scientifically proven to substantially decrease our risk of illness from COVID-19,” Majlesi added, “such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and getting a vaccination when it becomes available.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 or usePoisonHelp.org. Services are free, confidential, available 24/7.
Dr. Stephanie Widmer, an emergency medicine physician and medical toxicology fellow in New York, is a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.
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