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No Thanks On The Horse Wormer

By David Howell

Apparently the Mississippi Poison Control Center has received quite a few phone calls about the ingestion of a medicine meant for livestock that some folks are taking to combat Covid-19. Most of us have heard about someone taking Ivermectin, sold at livestock supply stores as a treatment for heartworms or parasites in cows and horses. People are taking it to ward off coronavirus or combat the symptoms if they test positive.

The Mississippi State Department of Health issued a health advisory late last week after noting the calls to the poison control center have increased. Thankfully most of the callers had mild symptoms, but one individual was instructed to seek further evaluation due to the amount of Ivermectin reportably ingested.

Health officials are warning that side effects of the cow and horse wormer can include neurological events such as dizziness, seizures and confusion; sudden drop in blood pressure; elevated heartbeat or cardiovascular issues; liver injuries such as hepatitis; and severe skin rash. That is in addition to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, and abnormalities that include a decrease in white cell count.

Some have pointed out that Ivermectin is prescribed to patients, but that is only for treatment in a small-dose, tablet form to combat scabies.

Health officials cite misinformation on social media that is driving the push for people to purchase Ivermectin from feed stores. This misinformation went viral as folks try to beat the virus. It’s not funny, but I know a few folks who are taking Ivermectin but are wary of the vaccination.

For full disclosure on getting vaccinated, I was a holdout.  I figured I was (semi) young and (somewhat) invincible –  I haven’t missed a day of work due to illness in years. But today is the two-week mark since I received my second shot, meaning I am now fully vaccinated. I should have done it sooner, but better late than never.

The statistics are conclusive that getting vaccinated increases your chances of not contracting the virus and, if you do, you are much more likely to have a light case. I know a lot of folks who don’t trust the vaccine, citing potential side effects. I know a lot of folks who think the statistics on Covid-19 cases are skewed, that the count is inflated. But you would have to have your head in the sand not to realize our state’s healthcare system is in an all-out battle. Hospitals are overrun and healthcare workers are overwhelmed. We get a little glimpse of the crisis from the front window of the Herald office as the healthcare workers at the clinic two doors down test patients for Covid. They pull up and wait in their carx –  it is a steady stream all day long. It looks like there are more getting tested now than were during the earlier Covid waves.

Thankfully the numbers show that there has been a strong surge in people getting vaccinated. Just during the last week there were over 300 people in the county who received their first shot, one of the biggest jumps since the first few months of the year when vaccinations first became available. We are moving in the right direction.

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