Srinagar: At least 10 patients with mild symptoms of Covid-19 had resorted to a cocktail of medicines and antibiotics on their own when they reported at SMHS Hospital on Tuesday morning.
“They didn’t realise that Covid and Flu are caused by viruses. And your favorite antibiotics and steroids have no role in it,” a resident doctor treating them said.
These are not the only cases. With Covid-19 bug spreading right, left and center in the valley, the anxious patients, parents, family members are opting for irrational use of anti-bacterials and antivirals.
“The vast majority of patients with Covid-19, with asymptomatic and mild symptoms, will require little to no medications. However, they are mindlessly taking various vitamin combinations, medicines like doxycycline, hydroxychloroquine, favipiravir, and ivermectin for treating Covid-19 A host of studies have repeatedly debunked ivermectin as an anti-Covid19 medication; the same goes for hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin,” the doctor said.
Subsequently, the doctor explained that the flippant use of medicines can lead to “antibiotic resistance” which poses as a greater challenge. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply causing more harm.
HOD Community Medicine and Nodal Officer Government Medical College, Srinagar Dr Salim Khan said in present times, majority of Covid positive cases are having no to mild symptoms and are advised home isolation, they shall not resort to self-medication or overindulge in popping all sorts of medicines prescribed during previous Covid waves.
“Majority of cases with mild symptoms have headache, body aches including back ache, fever, dry cough, they are advised to take temperature reading and keep a record of it. These symptoms are usually self-limiting and shall resolve in 5-7 days and only antipyretic (fever lowering drugs) and analgesics like paracetamol, (mefenamic acid) can be taken for limited period till fever subsides,” Dr Khan said.
He emphasized, similarly cough suppressants, can be taken for dry cough. “The affected persons shall check oxygen saturation and shall report to health facilities if saturation (SpO2) falls below 93% or is breathless. Some positive cases may require inhalant steroids for limited period on advise of a doctor only,” Dr Khan said.
Lecturer Government Medical College, Srinagar Dr Suhail Naik said self-medication can prove very harmful both in short term and long term, besides resulting in development of resistance in bugs.
“Taking unnecessarily different types of medicines is one of the reasons for genetic mutations in microbes and subsequently then new variants take birth. Further self-medication can lead to sudden death, kidney and liver damage. People should always consult their doctor, who after accessing severity of illness can guide them properly which medicine is to be taken, at what time and for how long,” Dr Naik said.
He noted that it is scientifically established fact that right medicine at right time in right dose for right duration can do miracle and same is true for steroids in Covid.
People who take steroids themselves invariably land in to hospital emergencies. “I don’t know why people don’t understand that most potent doctor or healer is inside their body and that is their immune system and 99 percent people hardly need any medication to get cure from viral infections. Pharma driven statements and advertisements have corrupted the mindset of people across globe,” Dr Naik said.
Dr Shahnawaz Kaloo Interventional Radiologist & Liver Cancer Specialist at Max Hospital, Delhi said medicines if taken in inappropriate doses can especially be hazardous.
“Take for example Paracetamol, if taken in correct dose is a wonderful medicine, but if excessive quantity is taken it can lead to paracetamol poisoning resulting in severe liver damage and coma. Same is with the other medicines too,” Dr Kaloo said.
He said in view of rising Covid cases, people are scared to visit hospitals and rightly so.
“In such situation video or telephonic consultation should be sought and treatment should be discussed with a qualified doctor,” Dr Kaloo said.
Meanwhile, last week, this unnecessary popping of medicines compelled more than 30 health experts to write a letter to central and state governments, urging an “evidence-based response” to the current wave of Covid last week.
They highlighted that Covid “kits” and cocktails, vitamin combinations, and a host of medicines were being prescribed to patients — including azithromycin, an antibiotic, or an anti-bacterial drug.