PHOENIX – Banner Health experts are warning the public against the use of inappropriate medications and household products to prevent or treat COVID-19 after an Arizona man died and his wife was hospitalized after taking chemicals they believed could help protect against coronavirus.
The couple consumed doses of fish tank cleaner after reading “a fake article,” according to multiple sources. Within thirty minutes of ingesting chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks, the couple experienced immediate effects requiring admittance to a nearby Banner Health hospital.
Banner Health experts emphasize that chloroquine, a malaria medication, should not be ingested to treat or prevent this virus.
“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director in a press release. “The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.”
Banner Health experts say that most patients who become infected with COVID-19 will only require symptomatic care and self-isolation to prevent the risk of infecting others. They advise members of the public to check first with a primary care physician.
The routine use of specific treatments, including medications described as ‘anti-COVID-19’, is not recommended for non-hospitalized patients, including the anti-malarial drug chloroquine.
“We are strongly urging the medical community to not prescribe this medication to any non-hospitalized patients,” said Dr. Brooks.
For disinfecting surfaces, the Centers for Diseases and Control Prevention recommends the use of diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol and common EPA-registered household disinfectants.