Coronavirus Self-Treating Cautions: 4 Things NOT to Do During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Jane M. Orient, M.D.

Family Health
3 years ago

Coronavirus Self-Treating Cautions: 4 Things NOT to Do During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It is risky to talk about what might work for an illness, because people might try to self-treat in a dangerous way. Here are some things not to do during the coronavirus pandemic from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS):

  • Don’t Drink Things Meant to Go in a Fish Tank: When President Trump stated that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine offer great promise in treating COVID-19, and that we urgently need to increase production (both true), an Arizona couple decided to self-treat with a product intended for their koi fish tank. Yes, it contained chloroquine phosphate. But what else? Products meant for aquaria may have a lot of unidentified substances in them. The fish do fine, but fish metabolism is very different from that of mammals. Shortages should be resolved soon, as production is ramped up. Don’t try to DIY.
  • Don’t Take Drugs Without Medical Advice: Chloroquine is very safe, as drugs go, and we have decades of experience with it. However, there is a long list of adverse effects, which can rarely be fatal. Retinal damage, hearing loss, tinnitus, balance problems, severe skin rashes, fatal heart rhythms, for example. There are drug interactions and contraindications, such as G6PD deficiency. Don’t know what that is? Maybe you should ask your doctor before you take a drug. The benefits may well exceed the risks – or may not be worth it if you are at low risk.
  • Don’t Assume That You Are OK If Your Temperature Is 98.6: This has long been considered to be the normal human body temperature. In fact, it’s an average of inaccurate measurements made long ago. Many people normally run a significantly lower temperature. Get a fever thermometer, check yourself when well and learn what is normal for you. Also remember that some patients with COVID-19 never get a fever, or get one only very late. Importantly, if you treat the fever with Tylenol (acetaminophen or paracetamol) or ibuprofen, and it goes down, you are not necessarily getting better. You are suppressing your body’s defenses. Consider self-isolation.
  • Don’t Consider Yourself Invulnerable Because You Are Young: While older people are more likely to die if they get COVID-19, young persons can become extremely ill and die. Fortunately, young children seem to do well themselves, although they may spread the virus without having any symptoms at all.

For further information, see the AAPS compendium of coronavirus articles.

The information on is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information provided through this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider.

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Elisa Schmitz
It is terrifying that people are self-medicating and hurting (and even killing) themselves in the process. I also heard that some doctors are prescribing these meds to their friends and family and even themselves, to hoard the medication if they need it. What a crazy situation. Thank you for being a calm voice in the storm, Jane M. Orient, M.D. !
Julie Rose
Thank you for sharing this. 🙏

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