An infodemic is too much information including false or misleading information in digital and physical environments during a disease outbreak. It causes confusion and risk-taking behaviors that can harm health. It also leads to mistrust in health authorities and undermines the public health response. An infodemic can intensify or lengthen outbreaks when people are unsure about what they need to do to protect their health and the health of people around them. With growing digitization – an expansion of social media and internet use – information can spread more rapidly. This can help to more quickly fill information voids but can also amplify harmful messages.https://www.who.int/health-topics/infodemic
The one another pandemic that has gripped the world along with covid is the Infodemic. While we as medicos still struggle to understand the ever mutating viruses including coronavirus, the entire media industry including the News channels, Facebook, Twitter and Whats’ app have been buzz with treatment and prevention of covid.
With the current surge in cases in the country, everyone has become a doctor. There was no harm in drinking haldi ( turmeric), after all it is an antiseptic or in taking steam, it clears the respiratory passages. However, even when you do these, you still have to maintain physical distance, wear masks properly and follow handwashing protocols. What’s happening now is causing much more confusion and anarchy. Everyone who gets infected rushes to get the labs and CT SCAN done. Getting labs done as a baseline is fine, however the labs early on before day 5 hardly predict a thing. Labs are basically advised after Day 6/7 to monitor condition in conjunction with the clinical situation. In most of the lab reports forwarded to me, I was surprised to see IL6 done for mild disease. IL6 is a marker for cytokine storm which is suspected with worsening symptoms.
CT scan might not be needed in most patients, and the CT picture remains same for weeks to months. One might have clinically improved and yet CT picture may still be alarming. In any case, a CT scan is never needed during early days and is definitely a wastage of resources.
Remedesivir is not a wonder drug. It is a broad spectrum antiviral. The drug was first approved by FDA for use in covid-19 in severe disease which was later expanded to include moderate disease. On 20th November WHO had recommended against the use in COVID19 patients, as there was no evidence that it improves survival and other outcomes. Similarly, the steroids should not be used without medical supervision, as overuse can lead to severe fungal infections.
There are many other such treatments and recommendations which are currently governing the public perception. The best source of all COVID related information is WHO website https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1 and CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html Useful information can be found on other medical websites like Web MD https://www.webmd.com/coronavirus and Medscape https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2500114-overview
A doctor whom you trust is the best person to answer your queries. Please do use verified sources and do not believe in forwarded messages. COVID will cause asymptomatic to mild disease in 85% of people. When infected, do not panic. Please be watchful of symptoms. Do you temperature charting, saturation charting. Isolate yourself and do hydrate yourself by drinking 2-3 liters of water a day. Your fever should settle by day 7 -8. Respiratory symptoms do not appear before day 9 in most. If they do appear before, you need to be monitored closely. Prone positioning helps as it helps one use the less utilized areas of lung. One should rest in prone or lateral position for maximum hours. If one has other comorbidities like Elderly, Obesity, cancer, hypertension, Diabetes, then the risk of moderate to severe disease is high and they should be more watchful.
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