JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There’s another trend that medical experts are warning people not to use to treat COVID-19.
There’s a video making the rounds on social media, viewed more than 350,000 times, that suggests people gargle Betadine, an antiseptic used to treat sore throats and cuts, to protect from the coronavirus entering the lungs. There are also tweets, like one saying it kills the virus in the mouth.
“Oh, absolutely not. This should not be used for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19,” Dr. Chirag Patel with UF Health Jacksonville.
Patel says using Betadine in your nose, gargling it too often or even swallowing it can kill new skin cells.
“And if you do that, you can get nausea, you can get vomiting, you can develop ulcers and bleeding in your intestinal tract or in your nose,” Patel said. “Those are all very serious.”
Florida Poison Control says it has had one call in the last month out of South Florida of a person gargling Betadine to prevent COVID-19.
On Betadine’s website, the company says there have been questions about the use of Betadine against COVID-19. The company says Betadine should not be used to kill the coronavirus and it should not be gargled to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Patel says that while everyone wants more options to treat COVID-19, the reality is, when it spreads, it mutates, and viruses are much harder to treat. This is why he says getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best preventative measure.
“We know, even when people get vaccinated, you can still develop COVID, and we want to make sure that we have everything available to us that’s safe and effective to treat those individuals. That doesn’t happen by just trying random things,” Patel said. “There is a lot of consequences when we do that, and that consequence typically ends up being people becoming sick, ill or, God forbid, dying.”
Forbes reports there are some studies that show some in vitro activity of different antiseptics against the coronavirus, but the data hasn’t been sufficient to recommend its use. Medical experts say it can lead to poisoning, which can be life-threatening.
The Associated Press says experts and medical groups also have been pushing to stamp out the growing use of ivermectin, a decades-old parasite drug to treat COVID-19, warning that it can cause harmful side effects and that there’s little evidence it helps.