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VERIFY: Over-the-counter medications and COVID-19

Several claims were sent to our VERIFY team about over-the-counter medication's safety if someone has COVID-19.

TOLEDO, Ohio — What do most of us do when we have a fever or a headache? Grab an aspirin.

But if you have COVID-19, some have asked if over-the-counter medications could actually be dangerous for your health.

We looked into this claim several weeks ago, but many are still wondering if medications like these actually exacerbate the virus.

Part of the message Bonnie sent WTOL 11 reads, "Only high temperatures kill a virus, so let your fever run high. Tylenol, Advil. Motrin, Ibuprofen, etc, will bring your fever down allowing the virus to live longer."

So, are you safe to take any over-the-counter drugs if you suspect you have the coronavirus?

Credit: WTOL

"We recommend medications like acetaminophen to reduce the fever," said Dr. Brian Kaminski, ProMedica's vice president of quality and patient safety. "It's not going to make the virus go away faster. It's not going to make the virus any worse or any better. The virus is going to run its pre-determined course."

So, that's VERIFIED: you're in the clear to take acetaminophen to reduce a fever.

Credit: WTOL

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Are there any over-the-counter drugs I should stay away from?

"We're not recommending nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines," Kaminski said. "So things like Naproxen and Aleve and Motrin. We're not sure yet but there is some evidence that those could potentially make certain aspects of this disease worse. It isn't clear yet. It isn't 100%."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it's "not aware of scientific evidence connecting the use of NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, with worsening COVID-19 symptoms." However, the agency says it's investigating further.

So we can VERIFY that yes, there are some medications you may consider avoiding if you're diagnosed with the virus, at least until more information is known.

If I let my fever run high, will that kill the virus?

"There's absolutely no evidence as it relates to allowing your fever to run high because that just feels awful," Kaminski said. "Although the virus may be heat-sensitive, those aren't the type of temperatures that would generally be achieved to kill the virus."

That claim is FALSE.

Even the World Health Organization says your body heat simply isn't enough to kill the virus on its own.

Have a claim or question you want our VERIFY team to look into? Get in touch with Tyler Paley, tpaley@wtol.com

RELATED VIDEO:

Facts not fear: Putting COVID-19 into context

WTOL 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit /coronavirus-covid-19 for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan specifically, learn more about the symptoms and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 419-248-1100.

Protect yourself from coronavirus

  • Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined can.
  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.