The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it, in addition to a lot of chaos and human losses, a lot of misinformation that has spread as fast as the disease. Through social networks, people without any scientific basis or medical endorsement have decided to give themselves the task of distributing information about certain types of medication that help prevent, combat, or eradicate Coronavirus.
Recently a married couple, both in their 60s, in the state of Arizona self-medicated with chloroquine – an antimalarial drug that hasn’t been approved to treat COVID-19 – after President Donald Trump mentioned the drug and described it as a very promising treatment for the virus. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have “been around for a long time, so we know that if it — if things don’t go as planned, it’s not going to kill anybody,” stated Trump in a press conference. “We’re going to be able to make that drug [chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine] available almost immediately.” After his statement, the couple thought it would be a good idea to consume the drugs that resulted in the poisoning of the wife and the unfortunate death of her husband.
The unidentified woman told reporters they both consumed a solution that although it didn’t contain the chloroquine in medication form to treat malaria, it was an ingredient listed on a parasite treatment for fish. The woman also revealed that within 20 minutes after drinking the toxic ingredient they became ill and called 911. “I saw it sitting on the back shelf and thought, ‘Hey, isn’t that the stuff they’re talking about on TV?'” she told NBC News. “We were afraid of getting sick,” she said. “I started vomiting,” the woman said. “My husband started developing respiratory problems and wanted to hold my hand.” After arriving at the hospital, her husband passed away.
“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, medical director of Banner Poison and Drug Information Center.
Myths about how certain foods cure disease have also been present. In the Hispanic community, thousands claim that gargling hot water with salt prevents the virus from getting lodged in the throat. However, it is proven that the Coronavirus can enter the eyes, nose, and mouth and circulate through the blood until it reaches a receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2. This proves that there is no evidence to support the theory that the disease stays in the throat and can be destroyed by them using salt and water.