Misleading Advice by This Doctor for COVID Patients Goes Viral
The viral post in Bengali, says it is a doctor’s advice. His first card says, “If I get corona, what will I do?”
A post comprising a series of photos of a doctor giving advice on what to do if one contracts COVID-19 is going viral on Facebook.
The doctor advises patients to take paracetamol for fever, zinc tablets, Ivermectin tablets once a day among other things. He goes on to suggest people to not visit a hospital but self treat themselves at home, which could be potentially dangerous.
The viral post, which is in Bengali, says that the photos are a doctor’s advice. His first card says, “If I get corona, what will I do?”
The post had 21k shares and 1.5k likes at the time this story was published. Here’s what the doctor recommends in case someone has COVID-19:
- Don’t go to a hospital
- Stay in isolation at home
- Eat healthy food and get as much rest
- Do hot water gargles every hour
- Take hot water steam regularly
- Drink ginger tea and colour tea
- Take paracetamol for the fever
- Take anti histamine such as Flex 120 mg every night
- Consume foods rich in Vitamin C & D
- Take Zinc tablet (available as Zorate 60/Zinoret 60)
- Drink lots of water. Saline can be mixed with this water as well.
- Take Ivermectin 12 mg tablet once a day or Scabo 6 mg two tablets single dose
- Take Doxycyclin tablet (Doxicap 100 mg 2 times a day for seven days)
The first pertinent question that arises on seeing this post is the identity of this man and whether he is really a doctor.
The Quint recognised him from a video that had gone viral in March, and which we found was still being shared on Facebook.
The post, once again in Bengali, claimed that this was Dr Arkaprabha Sinha from AIIMS who was presenting some latest updates about coronavirus. However, we found no existence of any doctor of the same name employed at an AIIMS.
Moreover, the language and accent used by the man in the video pointed towards him being from Bangladesh. On running several searches on YouTube, we came across more videos of the same person and found some in which he identifies himself as Dr Zakir.
Searching with this clue, we came across more videos which offered his full name, Dr Zakir Hossain Shobuj.
When we searched on Facebook, we came across a video on his page in which he was wearing green scrubs, which had the initials UAMCH printed on them. We ran a search for this and found that it stood for Uttara Adhunik Medical College Hospital, in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Therefore, it is clear that this man is a doctor from Bangladesh.
Are His Suggestions Incorrect?
Let us now address the advice he has for coronavirus patients. First off, the advice that one should not go to a hospital but should rather isolate at home should have come with a caveat.
1. ‘DON’T GO TO A HOSPITAL’
While doctors have been suggesting that those with mild symptoms and those who are asymptomatic should certainly isolate at home and don’t need to go to a hospital, those with more severe symptoms such as breathlessness, high fever, a persistent cough, extreme exhaustion or oxygen levels below 90, have to go to a hospital. Dr Hossain fails to make this clear in his advice for COVID-19 patients.
“If you have symptoms, you can always go to meet a doctor but you don’t need hospitalisation for mild symptoms. If you have breathlessness, high-grade persistent fever or a cough, you have to see a doctor and if need be, get hospitalised,” Dr Sumit Ray, a critical care specialist in Delhi NCR told The Quint.
2. HOT WATER GARGLES, STEAM, GINGER TEA WILL HELP
His advice about doing hot water gargles every hour, taking hot water steam regularly and drinking ginger tea and ‘colour’ tea (essentially black tea or any kind of tea without milk) while not harmful, have not been proven to be effective either.
The Quint has previously debunked these claims, which have been viral for a while.
“The claim that hot water gargles can treat coronavirus is completely wrong and there is no medical basis for such claims.” Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals told The Quint.
Dr Ray also rubbished the claim by saying that gargling does not help in any way to cure the novel coronavirus.
The claim that tea can help COVID-19 patients is also baseless, as there is no evidence for the same.
Dr Neeraj Jain, Internal Medicine, Gangaram Hospital, had earlier told The Quint that, “At present, there is absolutely no evidence or data to support the claim that tea can cure coronavirus.”
3. ‘TAKE VITAMIN C, D AND ZINC TABLETS’
Further, in the post, Dr Zakir advises the consumption of foods rich in Vitamin C and D as well as taking zinc tablets.
Dr Ray says that Vitamin C and D, and zinc have supposedly anti-inflammatory properties but this has not been proven in clinical trials, specially in the COVID setting.
However, he also added that while they may not benefit, they would also cause no harm to a COVID-19 patient.
He also pointed out that nobody should overdose and people need to know the doses of all of these before taking them.
4. TAKE IVERMECTIN AND DOXYCYCLIN
With regard to Dr Zakir’s advice about taking Ivermectin and Doxycyclin, Dr Ray told The Quint that there is no strong evidence to prove that Ivermectin has any effect. For Doxycyclin as well, there is even less evidence than for hydroxychloroquine, he said. Both Ivermectin and Doxycyclin are drugs that can have side-effects and “no body should use these without prescription”.
“These probably can be avoided. There is no reason to give these. The rest, there is no harm,” Dr Ray said, saying that overall, none of the advice given in the post had been proven to be effective.
Speaking to The Quint, Dr Suranjan Chatterjee said that none of the things mentioned in the post are wrong because they are modalities of treatment that are being used. But he also stressed the need for medical supervision, to be in touch with a physician or a COVID hospital doctor.
Further, he said that while 80 percent of the people recover without treatment, the symptomatic need to be in touch with a doctor because one will not know when they deteriorate. 15-20 percent people would need oxygen and other supportive care, he said.
Dr Chatterjee also added that whether a person needs treatment or not at all would be determined by this medical supervision, pointing out that a person could even have a reaction to these drugs as well, if they are not medically guided.
“No patient should become a doctor on his own. He or she should be under the supervision of a local COVID specialist or a healthcare worker. This cannot be a thing that is used for the general public at all,” he said, adding that nobody should be taking these medicines at home without medical supervision.
Therefore, it is clear that while not all the advice provided by Dr Zakir in the viral post are wrong, none of them have any evidence to prove effective. In fact, some of them could be dangerous and have side-effects and none of the medicines suggested should be taken without medical supervision.
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