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Local Pharmacist warns COVID-19 individuals who are self medicating

In most instances, individuals who have tested positive with Coronavirus(Covid-19) are advised to stay at home and avoid public areas for 14 days, depending on the impact of the virus on their health.”In many cases, the illness starts with a fever. Sometimes a cough accompanies it, maybe shortness of breath,” said Mike Wadman, Emergency Physician.

Pharmacist Ria Westerman of Medipost Pharmacy said some of these symptoms can be managed at home on the advice of a healthcare professional. “It is crucial, however, that medications for relieving symptoms are always used appropriately and safely,” she said.

“Many Covid-19 patients describe experiencing severe headaches, body aches, sore throat and chest pain, and the most common symptoms reported are fever, chills, and shivers. Paracetamol has been proposed as the safest drug for relief of these symptoms, particularly pain and fever, for most of the population” said the Pharmacist.

“Even though paracetamol is effective and very safe even for pregnant women and babies, as with all medicines, it is extremely important not to exceed the dosage that is specified on the packaging or recommended by your treating doctor. When taken in excessive doses, an overdose of this safe medicine can lead to toxic effects on the body. Fortunately, fever, aches and pains can be effectively managed with paracetamol, which is inexpensive and readily available without the need for a doctor’s prescription,” She explained.

The standard dose for adults is 500mg (one tablet) to 1000mg (two tablets) four times per day. This means that 1000mg, or one gram, is the maximum dose for an adult in a six-hour period, which should never be exceeded, with a maximum of 4000mg (i.e. four grams equivalent to eight tablets) in 24 hours.

“Accidental overdose is unfortunately common but can be avoided. If you are taking more than one type of medicine, it is important to check all the ingredients to ensure you do not exceed the safe dosage for paracetamol,” she said.

“It is crucial that any medicine is only ever used according to the manufacturer’s or a healthcare professional’s advice, as inappropriate use can be harmful. When taken safely, however, paracetamol can bring immense relief for symptoms of pain and fever during recovery from colds, influenza and less severe cases of Covid-19,” she concluded.

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