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Our problem is correcting false information through social media


Dr. Zachary Castle has been practicing family medicine in Midland for around four years.

He is worried about COVID-19’s impact on the community. He sees what it does to medical resources – both at his office and at Midland Memorial Hospital.

And when he had the opportunity to talk with the Reporter-Telegram about the pandemic, one of the first things he wanted to call attention to wasn’t what is happening in an emergency room or in his own offices but online.

“One of the biggest problems is trying to correct false information being spread through social media,” Castle said.


He pointed to two alleged COVID solutions being talked about online more than in medical studies or inside doctors’ offices – Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin. The latter of which brought out the following response from Castle. “I would never recommend going to a veterinarian supply story (for your COVID needs)” – a reference that Ivermectin, according to the FDA, is approved for use in animals for prevention of heartworm disease in some small animal species, and for treatment of certain internal and external parasites in various animal species. 

Castle said he heard similar concerns from other physicians around Midland during a recent online call. They are hearing from patients about plans that are “far-fetched” and “not consistent with good research.”

He said discussions also have taken place about Budesonide, which the Mayo Clinic says is a corticosteroid or steroid (cortisone-like medicine) that works by preventing inflammation (swelling) in the lungs, which makes the asthma attack less severe.

There has been discussion during the pandemic about Budesonide, which has been called the silver bullet by some doctors. Some proponents of the use of Budesonide cite a study by the University of Oxford in England that states, “Inhaled budesonide is the first widely available, inexpensive drug found to shorten recovery times in COVID-19 patients aged over 50 who are treated at home and in other community settings, reports the UK’s principle trial in 1,779 participants.”

Castle said there is “reasonable evidence that (Budesonide) is helping” and that it can “shorten duration of symptoms for three days.” Castle also stated that the evidence he’s seen has shown it has no impact on mortality or hospitalization rates.

“We try to use the best data to make the decision,” said Castle, who again repeated that doctors are always looking at educational databases to learn latest things and then talking with other physicians about best practices.

Castle said he would like to see more colleagues inside the medical community make their voice known – “more doctors stand up for what we believe in” – including on social media. Castle said that vaccines are important, as are masking, social distancing and other guidelines to help prevent people from getting COVID in the first place.

“Information is never a bad thing,” Castle said.

He also said practices, including vaccination, should not be a political thing but what is best for people and the community.

“It has turned into political statement unfortunately,” Castle said.



 



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