We often read about people who try or follow “unscientific” advice on how to prevent or treat Covid. Maybe they tried a particular herb, spice or mineral. Saltwater gargling. Steam or Sauna. Sunlight. Bleach. Cow dung or Urine.. the list is endless. Yes, these so-called “treatments” are useless at best and harmful at worst. We may have had a good laugh at their expense and said, “They should try following the science instead.”
Very true. It is much better to follow science rather than Whatsapp University. But the question is, which science do we follow? Which scientist? Which Doctor? Are they all in agreement? Is it evident what treatment for Covid is “scientific” and what is not?
When I got mild Covid, the paranoid person that I am – I consulted four doctors. And guess what? I got four different prescriptions
(1) Antibiotic+ Antiviral + Vitamins and Minerals + Paracetamol + Hydration + Steam Inhalation
(2) No Antiviral for now. We will see later. Get some blood tests done first
(3) No Antiviral. Ever. Watch your symptoms. Chest Xray. Just hydrate, and take Vitamins. Remdesivir later if needed.
(4) Ivermectin + Proton Pump Inhibitor + NSAID with Paracetamol + Decongestant + Invermectin or Hyrdoxychloroquine
All of them were qualified, experienced and well-intentioned doctors. They had no hidden agenda; they all genuinely wanted me to get well. So who should I, a layman, follow? It’s not as easy as choosing one of the options either. Even within the options, there are choices to be made. Let us take the example of the drug Ivermectin, recommended by Doctor #4
(1) The US FDA strongly warns against using Ivermectin to treat Covid.
(2) WHO says it shouldn't be used outside clinical trials. It claims that evidence for it is “weak.” (1) The National Institutes of Health, USA first said “Not recommended” but then changed their stance to “Neither recommended nor not recommended”. Very helpful.
(2) The FLCCC – Frontline Covid Critical Care Alliance – a group of highly experienced critical care doctors strongly recommend Ivermectin. They say it can not only treat Covid but prevent it too. They back up their statement by quoting several medical studies. But these same studies are discredited by the WHO!
(3) The Indian Council of medical research (ICMR), AIIMS and the Ministry of Health and Family welfare say that you “may” take Ivermectin for mild cases of Covid.
I presume all these organizations are following science? So are there different sciences? Who should I believe? Should I take Ivermectin? And even if I do, one group advises it to be taken with a fatty meal, and the other suggests taking it on an empty stomach!!
Then the icing on the cake. In June 2021, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) removed almost ALL the drugs that were prescribed to me two months ago by Doctor #1.
For Mild Covid, they say - No Antivbiotic, No Antivrus (Fabiflu, approved for Covid treatment a short while ago), no Vitamin D, No Zinc, No Ivermectin, No Hydroxycholoroquine – only paracetamol and something for cough/congestion. Mind you, this is only DGHS. ICMR, AIIMS etc are not on the same page. State Health departments are another story. So who does the common man follow?
I don’t have any clear answers but just a few suggestions, which would help not just for Covid but for any other condition as well
- Try and find a “good” doctor. To quote Dr Dharmendra Singh, a good doctor is one who realizes that “Our pens and stethoscopes are not enough, we need eyes and vision, we need ears and understanding, we need words and wisdom.”
- Stick with a doctor whom you know and trust, preferably one who has experience treating the problem you are facing.
- If aggressive treatment is being suggested, take a second opinion.
- Listen to your body! Carefully observe your symptoms, and discuss them with your doctor. Don’t ignore anything.
The bottom line is that we need to take care of our health! To quote Dr. Bhavin Jhankaria “In the end our health is our responsibility and no doctor or healthcare system, especially in India is really going to take the time out to help us live long, healthy, unless or until we fall sick - the idea is to try and not become ill in the first place”.
Peter Theobald, Author of “I am NOT a Doctor”