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Oregon Poison Center Warns About Coronavirus ‘Remedy’ Misinformation

Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

Social media is great for sharing information with friends. But it’s not so great at making sure that information is correct. While there’s no cure for the COVID-19 coronavirus, misinformation about supposed remedies is spreading across the internet.

Now doctors at Oregon Health and Science University are trying to dispel harmful misinformation about COVID-19 remedies. A few examples: drinking small amounts of bleach or hydrogen peroxide, and preventing coronavirus by taking excess amounts of the supplement colloidal silver, which is said to stimulate the immune system.

“Absolutely none of these have been proven effective and several of these things can really have very severe toxicities,” says Robert Hendrickson the medical director at the Oregon Poison Center at OHSU.

Something else to avoid, Hendrickson says, is taking the malaria treatments chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.

While the Food and Drug Administration recently approved testing these medications on patients in the hospital with COVID-19, Hendrickson warns they pose serious health risks and shouldn’t be taken at home without a doctor.

“We may find that they’re effective. We don’t know yet. But they do have significant toxicities,” he says.

Hendrickson says during this moment of frustration and anxiety, some people are reaching for unproven solutions.  

Precautionary steps that are reliable are those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Oregon Health Authority: regular hand washing, social distancing, and staying away from people who are sick.

Copyright 2020 Jefferson Public Radio

Erik Neumann is a radio producer and writer. A native of the Pacific Northwest, his work has appeared on public radio stations and in magazines along the West Coast. He received his Bachelor's Degree in geography from the University of Washington and a Master's in Journalism from UC Berkeley. Besides working at KUER, he enjoys being outside in just about every way possible.
Erik Neumann
Erik Neumann is an experienced radio producer and reporter who grew up alongside the Puget Sound. He's passionate about telling the human stories behind America's health care system, public lands and the environment, and the arts. He got his Masters degree at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Erik joined JPR after several years as a staff reporter at KUER, the NPR station in Salt Lake City, where he focused on health care coverage. He was a 2019 Mountain West fellow with the Association of Health Care Journalists and is a contributor at Kaiser Health News, a non-profit news service committed to in-depth coverage of health care policy and politics.