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With more people with long Covid going online in search of support, the likelihood of misinformation that are bordering on dangerous treatments appears to have gone up as well. These valuable discussion forums, chat groups and other online peer-support networks are reportedly also spreading harmful misinformation. Notably, online groups allow unproven therapies to be promoted, sometimes by members who believe they are sharing helpful information, according to news agency PTI report.

While health researchers admit there are few evidence-based treatments for long Covid, in the face of such uncertainty, people with debilitating symptoms can be tempted by unproven options such as “blood washing", stem cell infusions and ozone treatments, the report said, while adding that some despairing people with long Covid say they are willing to try any therapy if there’s hope it improves their health.

According to the report, long Covid survivors can suffer debilitating health problems that make it difficult to return to work or activities they once enjoyed and it can include symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, chronic pain, depression and anxiety. They have had to fight to receive medical attention or recognition of their symptoms, the report said.

The PTI report said that online discussion forums such as Reddit, as well as networks on Facebook and Twitter, have made a major difference to the long Covid community, adding that, these peer networks offer emotional support and share important information about symptoms and treatments. However, there are pitfalls and potential dangers of this kind of online networking and crowdsourced medicine. The PTI report noted that some individuals or groups are exploiting people’s desperation, using long Covid support networks to attempt to profit from offering treatment plans or alternative therapies such as vitamin supplements and ozone treatment.

Some long Covid groups are are still recommended drugs such as the now scientifically discredited Covid treatment ivermectin, the report said, while adding that some patients have spent large sums of money on dubious therapies even as serious ethical concerns are raised by these actions, including the potential for these therapies to cause harm and worsen people’s health.

(With inputs from PTI)




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