Never Self-Medicate to Prevent COVID-19

The fear of contracting COVID-19 is real and for older adults and people with chronic health conditions, panic and widespread misinformation can be a dangerous combination.  Just yesterday an Arizona couple in their 60s ingested fish medication in an effort to protect themselves from the new coronavirus, with disastrous results.  The man died and the wife became very ill from the poisoning; she now warns others to never self-medicate and only take a drug or supplement under the direction of your doctor. 

The confusion started when, according to a recent NBC News report, the couple heard a news report that chloroquine might be a useful therapy to treat COVID-19.  Having used what sounded to be a similar ingredient to treat parasites on their fish, the couple decided to add a small amount to liquid and drink it.  But rather than consuming chloroquine, used to treat malaria in humans, the fish medication ingredient chloroquine phosphate proved to be highly toxic and resulted in fatal poisoning.  

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved chloroquine to treat coronavirus, and although scientists are working diligently to test the effectiveness and safety of several drugs, no medication has been approved to prevent or treat COVID-19.  

According to the World Health Organization, people with mild symptoms of the virus should stay at home until they have recovered and get plenty of rest and sleep, stay warm, drink plenty of liquids and use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease sore throat and cough.  If you develop a fever, cough and have difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately calling your health care provider in advance for directions.  

For up-to-date factual information about coronavirus disease 2019, follow this link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Stay safe and stay home.