Oregon Poison Center at OHSU warns against dangerous COVID-19 remedies circulating on social media

Handwashing
Handwashing
closeup of person's hands as they are washing with good technique
"The most effective way to prevent COVID-19 is to practice washing hands frequently, practice social distancing, and stay home,” says Robert Hendrickson, M.D., medical director of the Oregon Poison Center. (Getty Images)

The Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health & Science University has an important warning for the public: There are no supplements, medications or remedies that are known to be effective in treating or preventing COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.  Unfortunately, many of the remedies that are being circulated among social media users may be very harmful. Several Americans have developed severe toxicity from chloroquine obtained through non-medical sources.

While hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are being studied in the United States and worldwide, they must be administered under a physician’s supervision to avoid toxicity and even death. Other remedies, including ingesting bleach, ingesting hydrogen peroxide, or using supplements in excess, including colloidal silver or vitamin D, may be dangerous and have long-term health effects.

Robert Hendrickson, M.D.
Robert Hendrickson, M.D.

“We understand the public is concerned given the unfolding situation, but it is critical that people do not self-medicate. The most effective way to prevent COVID-19 is to practice washing hands frequently, practice social distancing, and stay home,” says Robert Hendrickson, M.D., medical director of the Oregon Poison Center and professor of emergency medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. These strategies are in alignment with the recommendations from our partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Oregon Health Authority.

Oregonians with COVID-19 symptoms should contact their health care provider for treatment recommendations. Call ahead or use telemedicine options to prevent exposing others prior to visiting a health care facility.  

For more information about how to stay healthy and slow the spread of COVID-19, visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus or call 211.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a poison emergency call the Oregon Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. A trained health care provider is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The call is free and confidential. Poison prevention education and other poison safety resources are available at oregonpoison.org.

Accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the Oregon Poison Center is a designated regional poison control center for Oregon, Alaska and Guam.


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