Worthless: Free Advice and COVID-19

Okay! I know! I am writing a piece warning against free advice, and some will say the information I am about to give you is not worth what you paid for it. With that said, please stop reading and spreading medical advice on Facebook. It is not only worth less than nothing, but it may also be harmful, regardless of the source.

As with the run on toilet paper, there is now a run on medical advice from various sources. The one first catching my attention came from France’s Health Minister. Another came from a personal post by someone claiming to be a nurse. Another was from a second doctor in Europe building on the Health Minister’s warning.

Here is the problem! For every piece of medical advice I’ve seen on the internet there have been conflicting opinions. Take the Health Minister’s premise that NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, aspirin, similar drugs) could make coronavirus worse because some tend to impair the body’s immune system. A number of online publications have posted his comments, or the comments of others supporting his position.

Almost no one is posting comments of those who think the warnings against using ibuprofen or similar drugs may be exaggerated or mistaken. Even Snopes classifies the Health Minister’s claims as unproven. You will likely not see that anywhere, but here.

I could go on, and on probably, with my critique of this debate. Instead, I will close with the following few bits of information. The French Health Minister, and some others, say choose acetaminophen to control fever related to the coronavirus. I believe the piece from the nurse said essentially the same thing to some degree. I know she suggested using low dose acetaminophen, which I applaud to some degree.

On the other hand, I wish I could take ibuprofen if I contract COVID-19. However, on the advice of my primary care physician, I avoid NSAIDs because most of them have side effects that make them risky for me. The most concerning side effect is the damage they can do to one’s kidneys. My kidneys are marginal for some reason, so he told me to stick with acetaminophen, which I do for the most part. Also, some of the NSAIDs can damage the stomach lining, another concern based on my family history.

The problem is ibuprofen is much more effective in dealing with my pain, any fever I might have, and inflammation that can accompany them. Acetaminophen works, but not as well. Also, there is one other thing people forget about acetaminophen, it can be deadly. Okay, they all can be deadly if misused, but good old acetaminophen accounts for almost 500 acute liver failure deaths annually.

So, here’s my free advice concerning what over the counter meds someone should take if they are sick. Ask your doctor, a doc in the box, or the pharmacist if he or she will make a recommendation! Oh yeah, if you don’t have a doctor, can’t pay for a doc in the box, and don’t trust the pharmacist, you can now consult real doctors online and by telephone, at a relatively low fee.

© oneoldcop.com – 2020

About S. Eric Jackson

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